Heat Transfer to a Thin Solid Combustible in Flame Spreading at Microgravity

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Bhattacharjee

Department of Mechanical Engineering, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-0191

R. A. Altenkirch

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762

S. L. Olson, R. G. Sotos

NASA-Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH 44135

J. Heat Transfer 113(3), 670-676 (Aug 01, 1991) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2910617 History: Received March 14, 1990; Revised January 12, 1991; Online May 23, 2008


The heat transfer rate to a thin solid combustible from an attached diffusion flame, spreading across the surface of the combustible in a quiescent, microgravity environment, was determined from measurements made in the drop tower facility at NASA-Lewis Research Center. With first-order Arrhenius pyrolysis kinetics, the solid-phase mass and energy equations along with the measured spread rate and surface temperature profiles were used to calculate the net heat flux to the surface. Results of the measurements are compared to numerical solution of the complete set of coupled differential equations that describes the temperature, species, and velocity fields in the gas and solid phases. The theory and experiment agree on the major qualitative features of the heat transfer. Some fundamental differences are attributed to the neglect of radiation in the theoretical model. A scale analysis is developed that makes use of the experimental data at different ambient conditions to support the notion that radiation is important and to investigate the effect of pressure on the spread rate.

Copyright © 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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