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Characterization of backdrafts generated from methane fires



Ryan Falkenstein-Smith, Christopher U. Brown, Thomas Cleary


An analysis of oxygen concentration measurements is conducted to investigate compartment ventilation before a potential backdraft phenomenon. Experiments are performed in a 2/5th scale compartment of varying configurations such as fuel flow time, spark igniter location, and compartment opening size. A 25 kW methane fire and 37.5 kW methane fire are chosen as the fires of interest. Ignition is prompted via a spark igniter positioned at either 50.7 cm or 25.4 cm from the compartment floor. Compartment opening size is modified to either a door or window configuration. Oxygen concentrations are measured at two different heights within the compartment using paramagnetic sensors. Total heat release and fireball volume of experiments with backdraft events are reported. Time-averaged oxygen concentration measurements are calculated from measurements 5 s before the compartment opening and are observed to correlate with experimental parameters such as fire size and fuel flow time.
Conference Dates
March 6-9, 2022
Conference Location
Orlando, FL, US
Conference Title
2022 Spring Technical Meeting of the Eastern States Section of the Combustion Institute


Backdraft, Equivalence Ratio, Reduced-Scale Enclosure Experiments, Total Heat Release


Falkenstein-Smith, R. , Brown, C. and Cleary, T. (2022), Characterization of backdrafts generated from methane fires, 2022 Spring Technical Meeting of the Eastern States Section of the Combustion Institute, Orlando, FL, US, [online], (Accessed March 5, 2024)
Created March 10, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022