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Concurrent Flow Flame Spread Study.



H T. Loh


An experimental study has been performed of the spread of flames over the surface of thick PMMA and thin filter paper sheets in a forced gaseous flow of varied oxygen concentration moving in the direction of flame spread. It is found that the rate of spread of the PMMA pyrolysis front is time independent, linearly dependent on the gas flow velocity and approximately square power dependent on the oxygen concentration of the gas. The experimental data with thin filter paper sheets shows that the flame spread rate is independent of the flow velocity for forced flow conditions and linearly dependent on the oxygen concentration of the flow. In both experiments, it was found that the flame spread rate data can be correlated in terms of parameters deduced from heat transfer considerations only. This indicates that heat transfer from the flame to the condensed fuel is the primary mechanism controlling the spread of flame. Finite rate chemical kinetic effects have apparently a small influence on the flame spread process itself. Analytical and numerical methods were also employed to study theoretically the flame spread process over thermally thick fuel and the influence on the flow field behavior in the presence of a flame. It is found that an analytical model based on a quasi-steady analysis and the flame sheet approximation predicts a square power law dependence of the flame spread rate on the flow oxygen concentration and a linerar dependence on the flow velocity. The correct and encouraging qualitative descriptions of the flow structure and surface fluxes in the region downstream from the pyrolysis front.
Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR) - 92-603
Report Number


flame spread, oxygen concentration, paper, plastics, polymethyl methacrylate


Loh, H. (1992), Concurrent Flow Flame Spread Study., Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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Created March 1, 1992, Updated August 13, 2014