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Smoke Emission and Burning Rates for Urban Structures



Nelson P. Bryner, George W. Mulholland


Cribs, ordered arrays of sticks, were burned to mimic post-nuclear building fires. As the packing density of the cribs was increased to simulate blast damage, the smoke yield increased and the smoke changed from strongly light absorbing to whitish in color. A ventilation parameter proportional to the ratio of the crib vent area to the total fuel surface area correlated the burning rate and smoke yield data for both large (3.81 cm stick thickness) and small (0.64 cm stick thickness) scale cribs. The globally averaged smoke optical depth inferred from the burning of the wood cribs is in the low range of Penner's (1986, Nature 324, 222-226) estimate. The smoke yield for freely burning cribs containing wood, gypsum, and plastic can be accounted for based on the high sooting yield of the plastic by itself.
Atmospheric Environment
No. 11


smoke emissions, burning rate, urban fires, nuclear winter, smoke generation, crib burning, scale effects, wood, ABS plastics, gypsum


Bryner, N. and Mulholland, G. (1991), Smoke Emission and Burning Rates for Urban Structures, Atmospheric Environment, [online], (Accessed July 25, 2024)


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Created January 1, 1991, Updated February 19, 2017