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Ignition, Transition, Flame Spread in Multidimensional Configurations in Microgravity.

pdf icon Ignition, Transition, Flame Spread in Multidimensional Configurations in Microgravity. (555 K)
Kashiwagi, T.; Mell, W. E.; Baum, H. R.; Olson, S. L.


Microgravity Combustion Workshop, Fifth (5th) International. Proceedings. Sponsored by NASA Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications and the Microgravity Combustion Science Discipline Working Group hosted by NASA Glenn Research Center and the National Center for Microgravity Research on Fluids and Combustion. NASA/CP-1999-208917. May 18-20, 1999, Cleveland, OH, 333-336 pp, 1999.


microgravity; flame spread; fire safety; ignition


In the inhabited quarters of orbiting spacecraft, fire is a greatly feared hazard. Thus, the fire safety strategy in a spacecraft is (1) to keep any fire as small as possible, (2) to detect any fire as early as possible, and (3) to extinguish any fire as quickly as possible. This suggests that a material which undergoes a momentary ignition might be tolerable but a material which permits a transition from a localized ignition to flame spread would significantly increase the fire hazard in a spacecraft. If the transition does not take place, fire growth does not occur. Therefore, it is critical to understand what process controls the transition. Many previous works have studied ignition and flame spread separately or were limited to a two-dimensional configuration. In this study; time-dependent phenomena of the transition over a thermally thin sample is studied experimentally and theoretically in two- and three-dimensional (2D, 3D) configurations. Furthermore, localized ignition can be initiated at the center portion of thermally thin paper sample instead of at one end of the sample. Thus, the transition to flame spread could occur either toward upstream or downstream or both directions simultaneously with an external flow. In this presentation, the difference in the transition between the 3D and 2D configurations is explained with the numerically calculated data. For sufficiently narrow samples edge effects exist. Some results on this issue are presented. New analysis of the surface smoldering experiments conducted in the space shuttle STS-75 flight is also described.