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Elucidating the challenges in extracting ultra-slow flame speeds in a closed vessel - A CH2F2 microgravity case study using optical and pressure-rise data



Raik Hesse, Chaimae Bariki, Michael Hegetschweiler, Gregory T. Linteris, Heinz Pitsch, Joachim Beeckmann


Refrigerants with a low global warming potential (GWP) possess mild flammability. Hence, a fundamental understanding of their combustion characteristics is required to assess their fire-hazardous potential. The laminar burning velocity is one fundamental property to describe these under safety evaluation aspects. However, it is challenging to measure laminar burning velocities for slow-burning components, such as low-GWP alternatives. This is due to influencing effects such as buoyant flame deformation, stretch, radiation, and confinement, especially at the flammability limits. In the present study, we investigated near-limit flames of the representative refrigerant difluoromethane (CH2F2) with nitrogen-enriched oxidizer mixtures to elucidate the potentials and limitations at ultra-slow flame speeds of two widely used flame speed measurement methods in the closed vessel configuration: The optical flame speed measurement in the early quasi-isobaric regime and the flame speed determination from the pressure-rise during the later phase of the isochoric combustion process. Experiments were performed under terrestrial- and microgravity, conducted in a specially designed setup suitable for drop tower applications, using both methods in parallel. Recommendations for the extraction of flame speed data are derived from the non-buoyant reference investigations under microgravity and transferred to ultra-slow flames at terrestrial gravity. Near-limit flames under microgravity were found to be significantly affected by stretch effects for the optical method so that flame speed extrapolations to unstretched conditions are prone to errors. Stretch also affects the pressure method's lower evaluation limit, and errors can be estimated by combining flame speed data from the pressure method and Markstein lengths from optical experiments.
Proceedings of the Combustion Institute


Laminar Flame Speed, Refrigerant, Difluoromethane, Buoyancy, Microgravity


Hesse, R. , Bariki, C. , Hegetschweiler, M. , Linteris, G. , Pitsch, H. and Beeckmann, J. (2023), Elucidating the challenges in extracting ultra-slow flame speeds in a closed vessel - A CH2F2 microgravity case study using optical and pressure-rise data, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, [online],, (Accessed June 12, 2024)


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Created September 25, 2023, Updated September 26, 2023