Effect of Ambient Pressure on the Extinction Limit for Opposed Flame Spread over an Electrical Wire in Microgravity

Masashi Nagachi, Jean-Marie Citerne, Hugo Dutilleul, Augustin Guibaud, Grunde Jomaas, Guillaume Legros, Nozomu Hashimoto, Osamu Fujita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Parabolic flight experiments were carried out to investigate the effect of ambient pressure on the extinction limit for opposed flame spread over an electric wire insulation in microgravity. Low-density polyethylene insulated Nickel-Chrome wires with inner core diameter of 0.50 mm and insulation thickness of 0.30 mm were examined for ambient pressures ranging from 50 kPa to 140 kPa for an external opposed flow of 10 cm/s. The experiments showed that the limiting volumetric oxygen concentration (LOC) increased as the total ambient pressure decreased. This LOC trend can be explained by radiation loss from wire surface. The radiation loss increased as the ambient pressure decreased – a result that can be explained by the increase in preheat length with decreasing ambient pressure. Moreover, when the data was plotted in a partial pressure vs. total pressure space, it became evident that the limiting oxygen partial pressure (LOPP) decreased with decreasing total ambient pressure. This LOPP trend can be explained by the fact that the flame temperature increased as the ambient pressure decreased under constant oxygen partial pressure. In current fire safety design for spacecraft, tentative oxygen concentration criteria in spacecraft suggested by NASA is assumed as 30% of oxygen concentration, and this value is assumed independent of ambient pressure. However, the present result implies that consideration of the effect of ambient pressure on the flammability limit is necessary, especially with respect to the possibility of an extension of the allowable atmosphere condition for spacecraft cabin in the low pressure region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4767-4774
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Volume38
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • AMBIENT PRESSURE
  • Fire safety in space
  • Electrical wire
  • Microgravity
  • Opposed flame spread

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