Smouldering and self-sustaining reactions in solids: an experimental approach (clik on title for pdf)
by Rory Hadden, PhD, University of Edinburgh, 2011
|The Ostedijk on 21st February (the 5th day) after |
the hold was opened and before specialized firefighting activities had
commenced. Derived from photograph courtesy of Agencia EFE.
Chapter 1 presents a study of self-sustaining decomposition (SSD) of NPK ammonium-nitrate-containing inorganic fertilizer. Findings were applied to the events that occurred aboard the Ostedijk in 2007.
Chapter 2 is a study of smoulder in polyurethane foam to study the relationship between sample size, critical heat flux and spread rate. This is important becuase smouldering fires are the leading cause of residential fire deaths in developed countries and polyurethane foam is ubiquitous in the modern world.
Chapter 3 presents an experimental investigation into the ignition of porous fuels by hot particles. This is related to the problem of spotting ember ignition in wildland fires which is a major, but poorly understood, spread mechanism. The process of spotting occurs in wildland fires when fire-lofted embers or hot particles land downwind, leading to ignition of new, discrete fires.
Chapter 4 is an investigation into the suppression of smouldering coal. Subsurface coal fires are a significant global problem with fires in China alone estimated to consume up to 200 million tons of coal per year. As global demand for coal increases, accidental fires are a waste of a useful energy resource as well as a source of pollution and greenhouse gases. The results are the first attempt reported in the literature to study the suppression of these fires under controlled laboratory conditions.
Chapter 6 complements Chapter 5 with an analysis of the CO and CO2 emissions for smouldering and flaming peat. This data can be used with large-scale measurement techniques to improve emission estimates. The emissions are found to be dependent of the burning regime and the type of combustion with flaming resulting in higher fluxes of CO2 and lower fluxes of CO compared to peat smouldering. The large majority of emissions (85% of CO2 and 97% of CO) are released during the smoulder phase of the reaction. This highlights the differences in the chemical processes occurring under these two modes of combustion.
Chapter 7 summarizes the research undertaken in this thesis and presents possible further work.