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Suppression Limits of Low Strain Rate Non-Premixed Methane Flames



Matthew F. Bundy, Anthony P. Hamins, Ki Y. Lee


The suppression of low strain rate non-premixed flames was investigated experimentally in a counterflow configuration for laminar flames with minimal conductive heat losses. This was accomplished by varying the velocity ratio of fuel to oxidizer to adjust the flame position such that conductive losses to the burner were reduced and was confirmed by temperature measurements using thermocouples near the reactant ducts. Thin filament pyrometry was used to measure the flame temperature field for a curved diluted methane-air flame near extinction at a global strain rate of 20 s-1. The maximum flame temperature did not change as a function of position along the curved flame surface, suggesting that the local agent concentration required for suppression will not differ significantly along the flame sheet. The concentration of N2, CO2, and CF3Br added to the fuel and the oxidizer streams required to obtain extinction was measured as a function of the global strain rate. In agreement with previous measurements performed under microgravity conditions, limiting non-premixed flame extinction behavior in which the agent concentration obtained a value that insures suppression for all global strain rates was observed. A series of extinction measurements varying the air:fuel velocity ratio showed that the critical N2 concentration was invariant with this ratio, unless conductive losses were present. In terms of fire safety, the measurements demonstrate the existence of a fundamental limit for suppressant requirements in normal gravity flames, analogous to agent flammability limits in premixed flames. The critical agent volume fraction in the methane fuel stream assuring suppression for all global strain rates was measured to be 0.841 + 0.01 for N2,0.773 + 0.009 for CO2, and 0.437 + 0.005 for CF3Br. The critical agent volume fraction in the oxidizer stream assuring suppression for all global strain rates was measured as 0.299 + 0.004 for N2, 0.187 + 0.002 for CO2, and 0.043 + 0.001 for CF3Br.
Combustion and Flame
No. 3


counterflow flames, extinction, diffusion flames, fire suppression, temperature measurements, halons, microgravity, combustion


Bundy, M. , Hamins, A. and Y., K. (2003), Suppression Limits of Low Strain Rate Non-Premixed Methane Flames, Combustion and Flame, [online], (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created May 1, 2003, Updated February 19, 2017