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Instrumentation / Diagnostics


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Imaging Flames

This page describes different methods for visualizing flames using images and video.

Laser Doppler Anemometer (LDA)

LDA's use the phase shift of laser light due to tracer particle movement to measure a flows velocity.  This can be done in 1, 2, or 3 dimensions.

- include pictures from LDA.

Shadowgraph system

There are several kinds of shadowgraphs that I have heard about.  The first is the most widely used that I know of in combustion modeling.  The method uses the change in refraction of a fluid based on the change in temperature around a combustion zone to create shadows in a diffuse parallel light stream. 

A second kind of shadograph uses a diffuse parallel light beam but actually looks at the shadows cast by particles in the measurement area. 

Schlieren system

Schlieren systems visualize the density change in a system.  These are often used in visualizing shock angles with doing super sonic tests.  They can also be used to measure flame cone angles. 

- Add link to reference paper, and possibly a diagram.

Thin Skin Calorimeter (TSC)

Thin skin calorimeters are described in ASTM E459-05 standard.  They are also described in the MS thesis by Jarrod Alston titled Room/Corner Fire Calibration Data: Marine Composite Screening Specimens

- add diagram of TSC, Energy balance equations, and matlab calculation code.

Heat Flux Gauge 



Bi-Directional Probe (BDP)

The bi-direction probe uses the pressure differential to measure flow velocity.  It works very similarly to a pitot probe but has much larger openings which do not get blocked by soot as easily.  They are generally regarded as being good for up to a 50 degree off set in angle from the bulk flow movement.  

Vane Anemometer


Load Cell / Scale


Strain Gauge 

A strain gauge measures the change in resistance in a small chip as it is stretched due to the change in shape of the material the chip is attached to.  They have a linear range in which their behavior is predictable.  Out side of this range they are less reliable. 

Thermocouple

- add description of how thermocouples work, temperature ranges, how to make them, etc


Thermocouples are described in:
Manual on the use of thermocouples in temperature measurement
Modeling of bare and aspirated thermocouples in compartment fires

Gas Analyzer

 - oxygen with hydrocarbon
 - oxygen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide


Oxygen Consumption Calorimetry

Oxygen consumption calorimetry measures the heat release rate of a burning substance by measuring the depletion in oxygen in the exhaust gasses of the fire.  An overview of this process is described by Steckler in : Estimation of Rate of Heat Release by means of Oxygen Consumption Measurements
This is the process by which a cone calorimeter and Fire Propagation Apparatus work.

Data Acquisition system (DAQ)

Data acquisition systems provide methods for attaching an instrument to a computer or other storage device.  They can sample at a wide range of speeds. 

- add instructions for using various DAQ systems in the lab, and a picture.

Piping / Fittings

Swagelok is a company that manufactures fittings for use in fluid flow systems.  The fittings fit directly on the tubing to create a seal rather than trying to fit seal threads together.  It has been found to be very easy to use.

Gas Burner

Gas burners are a good way to get a known fire source.  The heat release rate (HRR) is generally determined by measuring the amount of gas flowing into the burner and multiplying that by the heat of combustion (usually chemical or total heat of combustion).  Below is a video of a 1 ft by 1 ft gas burner running at a HRR of 25 kW and 75 kW.


Cross Correlation Velocimetry (CCV)

A MS thesis on CCV can be found here:
An investigation into the use of Cross Correlation Velocimetry

Sieve shaker 


Bunsen Burner

A Bunsen burner is one of the most common instruments used to make a steady premixed flame.  Images of a Bunsen burner are shown in the Bunsen burner visualization portion of this website. 

Mache-Hebra Nozzle 

A Mache-Hebra nozzle creates a uniform flow profile coming out of a round nozzle.  They have been used in many laminar burning velocity studies because the flame creates a much straighter edge with this type of nozzle.

 - add picture of quartz tube


Quartz tubing

 - lets IR pass
 - can withstand significant heat



Cone Calorimeter

Cone calorimeters are widely used to get material properties in the Fire Protection Engineering field.  This instrument is described in ASTM 1354 Standard Test Method for Heat and Visible Smoke Release Rates for Materials and Products Using an Oxygen Consumption Calorimeter

This instrument measures mass loss, heat release rate, using oxygen consumption calorimetery, CO production, CO2 production, soot production.  An electric heater is used to produce uniform irradiance over a 100 mm by 100 mm square sample of material.



Fire Propagation Apparatus (FPA)

The FPA nominally works in the same way as the Cone Calorimeter except the FPA uses Hallogen radiant heaters and surrounds the test sample in a quartz tube so that the atmosphere around the sample can be adjusted.  This allows the oxygen concentration, humidity, and other ambient environmental factors to be changed during testing. 


Advanced Flammability Measurement Apparatus (AFM)

Can produce incident heat fluxes up to 200 kW/m2.  This apparatus is discussed in the dissertation by Beaulieu Flammability Characteristics at Heat Flux Levels up to 200 kW/m2

fire an materials paper by Beaulieu Flammability Characteristics at applied heat flux levels up to 200 kW/m2

Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC)

ThermoGravimetric Analyzer (TGA) 

IR Camera



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