Monday, 24 February 2014

Fire Watch Constellation

I am delighted to announce that we won the award for the Best Fire Science Image at the 11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science, with our entry titled Fire Watch Constellation (reproduced below).
Note: We have posted the image on the image repository of the European Geosciences Union

 Photo by E. Rackauskaite, X. Huang and G. Rein, Imperial College London. 
This composite shows a constellation of combined visual and infrared imaging of a smouldering combustion front spreading radially over a thin sample of dry peat. The central watch is created by a series of twelve wedges. Each edge is extracted from a photo taken every 5 min from an elevated view looking down into the sample during the one-hour lab experiment. The circular peat sample (D=22 cm) was ignited on the centre by an electrical heater. The average radial spread rate was 10 cm/h and the peak temperature 600˚C. The top figures show the virgin peat (left) and the final residue (right). The bottom figures show the wedges in visual (left) and infrared (right) imaging. Smouldering combustion is the driving phenomenon of wildfires in peatlands, like those causing haze episodes in Southeast Asia and Northeast Europe. These are the largest fires on Earth and an extensive source of greenhouse gases, but poorly studied. Our experiments help to understand this emerging research topic in climate-change mitigation by characterizing the dynamics of ignition, spread and extinction, and also measure the yield of carbon emissions. 

Licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.