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Effect of ullage on properties of small-scale pool fires

Dlugogorski, B.Z. and Wilson, M. (2000) Effect of ullage on properties of small-scale pool fires. Developments in Chemical Engineering and Mineral Processing, 8 (1-2). pp. 149-166.

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An experimental technique is described for accurately measuring the steady-state fuel consumption rates in small-scale pool fires, less than 7 cm diameter. The technique is applied to studying ethanol fires burning in cylindrical vessels constructed from various materials. The results indicate that the distance between the top of a vessel and the fuel surface profoundly influences the properties of liquid pool fires, including their structure and their burning rates. For combustion in glass cylinders, the burning rates decrease exponentially with increasing freeboard until a critical ullage is attained. At this ullage, the fuel begins to burn on the inside of the vessel, and the burning rate tends to increase slightly. With a further increase of the lip height, flame instabilities develop leading ultimately to flame self-extinction. The exponential decline in fuel consumption with the lip height depends strongly on the vessel material of construction. For fires in cylinders constructed from better conducting materials (copper and mild steel), the ethanol starts to boil beyond a certain ullage. The appearance of this phenomenon redefines the fuel consumption curve. Finally, free convection leads to non-negligible heat losses, especially from the more conducting copper and steel vessels, with the burning rates becoming dependent on the outside surface area of the cylinders.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Copyright: © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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