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Effect of Wind Velocity on Flame Spread in Microgravity



Kuldeep R. Prasad, S L. Olson, Y N. Nakamura, K K. Nishizawa, K. Ito, Takashi Kashiwagi


A three-dimensional, time-dependent model is developed describing ignition and subsequent transition to flame spread over a thermally thin cellulosic sheet heated by external radiation in a microgravity environment. A low Mach number approximation to the Navier Stokes equations with global reaction rate equations describing combustion in the gas phase and the condensed phase are numerically solved. The effects of a slow external wind (1-20 cm/s) on flame transition are studied mainly in an atmosphere of 35% oxygen concentration. The ignition is initiated at the center part of the sample by generating a line-shape flame along the width of the sample. The calculated results are compared with data obtained in the 10s drop tower. Numerical results exhibit flame quenching at wind speed of 1.0 cm/s, two localized flames propagating upstream along the sample edges at 1.5 cm/s, a single line-shape flame front at 5.0 cm/s, three flames structure observed at 10.0 cm/s (consisting of a single line-shape flame propagating upstream and two localized flames propagating downstream along sample edges) and followed by two line-shape flames (one propagating upstream and another propagating downstream) at 20.0 cm/s. These observations qualitatively compare with experimental data. Three dimensional visualization of the observed flame complex, fuel concentration contours, oxygen and reaction rate isosurfaces, convective and diffusive mass flux are used to obtain a detailed understanding of the controlling mechanism. Physical arguments based on lateral diffusive flux of oxygen, fuel depletion, oxygen shadow of the flame and heat release rate are constructed to explain the various observed flame shapes.
International Symposium on Combustion


Fires, Flame Spread, Microgravity Combustion


Prasad, K. , Olson, S. , Nakamura, Y. , Nishizawa, K. , Ito, K. and Kashiwagi, T. (2002), Effect of Wind Velocity on Flame Spread in Microgravity, International Symposium on Combustion (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created December 1, 2002, Updated June 2, 2021