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Flame propagation over liquid alcohols

Part I. Experimental results

Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Authors:
E. Degroote
and
P. L. García Ybarra

Summary The different spreading regimes above liquid fuels have been experimentally described for a wide range of initial surface temperatures. Five different spreading regimes are observed. The flame spreading driving parameter has been found. The critical transition temperatures between these regimes have been characterized; they present common characteristics for the four alcohols (methanol, ethanol, propanol and butanol) used in the experiments. A preheating zone ahead of the flame (produced by thermocapillarity) has been observed. The initial surface temperature of the liquid fuel results to be a control parameter of flame spreading; therefore, it can be applied to improve fire safety conditions in fuel containers.

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Flame propagation over liquid alcohols

Part II. Steady propagation regimes

Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Authors:
E. Degroote
and
P. L. García Ybarra

Summary The different spreading regimes above liquid fuels have been experimentally characterized for surface temperatures close to the flash-point temperature. Two different spreading regimes are observed: for temperatures larger than some critical value, flame spreading velocity is well described by the De Ris solid fuel-like model. For temperature values lower than the critical one, a preheating thermocapillary region has been observed in the fuel, which can be described by a purely thermodynamic non-reactive model. The critical transition temperature has shown to present common characteristics for the four alcohols used in the experiments.

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Flame propagation over liquid alcohols

Part III. Pulsating regime

Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Authors:
E. Degroote
and
P. L. García Ybarra

Summary The pulsating regime of flame spreading liquid fuels has been experimentally characterized. The mechanism that produces this oscillating behavior has been proposed, that correlates very well with our experimental data. The existence of a preheated region preceding the flame has been found; the characteristic horizontal length has also been experimentally measured. The transition temperatures have been found to possess common features for all fuels and geometrical configurations used in our experiments that can be used to improve fire safety in fuel containers.

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