Flame spread over acrylic cylinders in microgravity: effect of surface radiation on flame spread and extinction

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48th International Conference on Environmental Systems

During the 1990s several combustion experiments involving cellulose and PMMA as burning fuels were conducted on the Space Shuttle varying the oxygen concentration up to 50% in two pressure levels of 1 and 2 atm (Solid Surface Combustion Experiments, SSCE). These pioneering experiments were among the first attempts to explore flame spread in a quiescent microgravity environment. Although a number of papers have been published on the flame spread rate over thin and thick fuels, digitizing the videos, previously stored in VHS media, and application of recently developed image analysis tools have allowed us to re-analyze those videos for further understanding of these unique experimental results. Specifically, this work explores the effect of surface radiation on flame spread and extinction, starting from a qualitative analysis of the experiments. The comparison with samples from the more recent BASS (Burning And Suppression of Solid fuels) investigation suggest that radiative effects for flat and cylindrical fuels can be quite different, and are affected by the oxygen concentration. A non-dimensional surface radiation number is proposed that captures the geometric effect on radiation.

Luca Carmignani, San Diego State University & University of California San Diego
Shun Sato, Toyohashi University of Technology
Subrata Bhattacharjee, San Diego State University
ICES509: Fire Safety in Spacecraft and Enclosed Habitats
The 48th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA on 08 July 2018 through 12 July 2018.
Flame Spread, Microgravity, Thin Fuels, SSCE