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The Influence of a Plate Obstacle on the Burning Behavior of Small Scale Pool Fires: An Experimental Study



Jian Chen, Ye Song, Wai Cheong Tam, Depeng Kong


For a typical thermal runaway process of an uncontrolled energy release event, pool fires are frequently related to fire safety of liquid fuels in modern production and life. In order to improve fire safety in the area of energy utilization, it is important to study the burning behavior of pool fire including burning rate and flame characteristic, which are considered to be the fundamental parameters in hazard prediction and risk analysis. As there are different obstructions in real industrial fire scenarios, handling pool fire burning accounting for the influence with an obstruction has been a challenging task. To the best of the authors' knowledge, no work has been done to explore the influence of obstruction to pool fires. To characterize the influence of a plate obstacle on burning behavior of pool fire, a series of laboratory-scale pool fires sheltered by a plate obstacle with different heights and geometrical dimensions are conducted. The results show that the plate obstacle above the fuel pool leads to a faster developing fire with a larger peak burning rate. Moreover, the mean burning rate increases with decreasing obstacle heights, and the trend is more profound for the plate obstacle with a larger diameter. Through the heat transfer analysis for pool fire sheltered by a plate obstacle, it is found that the burning rate enhancement caused by the plate obstacle is mainly due to the external radiation from the plate obstacle to the fuel surface. Based on a scaling analysis, a empirical correlation for burning rate is formulated to describe the effect of plate obstacle to the pool fire. It is expected this work will help to understand the burning behavior of pool fires in a more realistic fire setting and to enhance the fire safety for practical engineering applications.
Energy Journal


Pool fire, Plate obstacle, Burning behavior, Burning rate


Chen, J. , Song, Y. , Tam, W. and Kong, D. (2022), The Influence of a Plate Obstacle on the Burning Behavior of Small Scale Pool Fires: An Experimental Study, Energy Journal, [online], (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created May 22, 2022, Updated July 2, 2023