Accessing the soot-related radiative heat feedback in a flame spreading in microgravity: optical designs and associated limitations

Augustin Guibaud, Jean-Marie Citerne, J. L. Consalvi, Jose L. Torero, Osamu Fujita, M. Kikuchi, Paul V. Ferkul, Nickolay Smirnov, Grunde Jomaas, Balazs Tóth, Sébastien Rouvreau, Guillaume Legros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Novel, high-fidelity results related to soot from microgravity flames were obtained by an international topical team on fire safety in space. More specifically, embedded optical techniques for evaluation of the soot-related radiative feedback to the base material from a spreading non-premixed flame in microgravity were developed. The configuration used a non-buoyant axisymmetric flame propagating in an opposed laminar stream over a Low Density PolyEthylene coating of an electrical wire. Within this context, both the standard Broadband Two Color Pyrometry (B2CP) and its recent extension Broadband Modulated Absorption/Emission (BMAE) technique can be deployed to measure the spatial distribution of soot temperature and volume fraction within the flame. Both fields are then processed to establish the field of local radiative balance attributed to soot within the flame, and ultimately the soot contribution to the radiative flux to the wire. The present study first assesses the consistency of the methodology contrasting an experimental frame and a synthetic one, the latter being produced by a signal modeling that processes fields delivered by a numerical simulation of the configuration as inputs. Using the synthetic signals obtained, the fields of local radiative balance within the flame are then computed and significant discrepancies were disclosed locally between the fields originating from the synthetic BMAE and B2CP inputs. Nevertheless, the subsequent evaluation of the soot-related radiative heat feedback to the wire shows that a weak deviation among the techniques implemented is expected. This finding is corroborated by similar evaluations conducted with experimental BMAE and B2CP measurements obtained in parabolic flights. As BMAE is implemented in an ISS configuration within the SCEM rig, BMAE and B2CP will soon provide long-duration soot observations in microgravity. In order to contrast the upcoming results, this current study quantifies discrepancies originating from the post-processing regarding soot temperature and volume fraction, and shows that the radiative feedback evaluation from both methods should be consistent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4805-4814
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number3
Early online date6 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2020


  • non-premixed flame
  • microgravity
  • radiative heat transfer
  • Soot


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