ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

The surface temperature of glowing embers are important for determining the burning rate of embers as they fall and their ability to ignite a target fuel when they land. Temperature measurements of glowing embers using Color Pyrometry (CP) are presented. CP allows for temperature measurement of an incandescing gray or black body based on the intensity’s spectral distribution rather than absolute intensity, and it can be accomplished with a DSLR camera. The CP measurements are compared with measurements using an infrared (IR) camera; it was observed that the CP measurements were more accurate than IR measurements because IR measurements need knowledge of the surface’s emissivity. We show that the emissivity is very important because the transient accumulation and shedding of ash on the surface of the glowing ember changes the emissivity dynamically, consequentially changing the measured temperature. The insensitivity of CP to emissivity allows this method to provide a more robust temperature measurement. Experiments using CP were performed with embers of different sizes in different airflows. The results show that the temperature of the glowing embers increases with increasing air flow. The measured mean glowing temperatures ranged from \(750^\circ \mathrm{C}\) at 1 m/s to \(950^\circ \mathrm{C}\) at 4 m/s. A glowing combustion model explains the dependence of the temperature on the air speed.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Noname manuscript No.
(will be inserted by the editor)
Temperature Measurement of Glowing Embers with
Color Pyrometry
James L Urban, Michela Vicariotto, Derek
Dunn-Rankin, & Carlos Fernandez-Pello
the date of receipt and acceptance should be inserted later
Abstract The surface temperature of glowing embers are important for deter-
mining the burning rate of embers as they fall and their ability to ignite a target
fuel when they land. Temperature measurements of glowing embers using Color
Pyrometry (CP) are presented. CP allows for temperature measurement of an in-
candescing gray or black body based on the intensity’s spectral distribution rather
than absolute intensity, and it can be accomplished with a DSLR camera. The CP
measurements are compared with measurements using an infrared (IR) camera;
it was observed that the CP measurements were more accurate than IR measure-
ments because IR measurements need knowledge of the surface’s emissivity. We
show that the emissivity is very important because the transient accumulation and
shedding of ash on the surface of the glowing ember changes the emissivity dy-
namically, consequentially changing the measured temperature. The insensitivity
of CP to emissivity allows this method to provide a more robust temperature mea-
surement. Experiments using CP were performed with embers of different sizes in
different airflows. The results show that the temperature of the glowing embers in-
creases with increasing air flow. The measured mean glowing temperatures ranged
from 750oCat 1 m/s to 950oCat 4 m/s. A glowing combustion model explains
the dependence of the temperature on the air speed.
Keywords Embers ·glowing combustion ·wildland fires
1 Introduction
Each year as wildland and Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fires wreak havoc on
communities around the world, and the intensity and damage of these types of
fires continue to rise. Recently, the October Fire Siege of 2017 has wrought heavy
damage to the northern California wine country (Napa and Sonoma counties) [1].
One of the fires in the siege, the Tubbs fire, alone has broken the record as the most
destructive wildfire in California history [2] and three others in the siege are also
on the list of Cal Fires list of the Top 20 Most Destructive California Wildfires [1].
Address(es) of author(s) should be given
This is a pre-print of a published article:
Urban, J. L., Vicariotto, M., Dunn-Rankin, D., & Fernandez-Pello, C. (2019). Temperature measurement of glowing
firebrands with color pyrometry. Fire Technology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10694-018-0810-3
2 James L Urban, Michela Vicariotto, Derek Dunn-Rankin, & Carlos Fernandez-Pello
The fire siege consisted of a peak number of 21 major wildfires that together killed
44 people [3], burned 245,000 acres, forced the evacuation of 100,000 people [1], and
destroyed an estimated 8,900 structures [2]. Dash cam and body cam videos from
law enforcement personnel show significant sprays of glowing embers/firebrands
[4] and there are reports of ember spotting igniting spot fires well outside the fire
perimeter [5].
There have also been many notable wildland and WUI fires in the past third
century, examples include: the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire [6], the 2003, 2007, and
2014 San Diego Firestorms and the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire,[7], the Texas Bastrop
county fires [8] and the Valley Fire [9]. There have also been many significant WUI
fires which occurred outside of the United States [7], in the Mediterranean Area
[10], South America [11], Australia [12], and New Zealand [13]. There does not
appear to be a consensus on the fraction of structure ignitions caused by embers
[7], as it is often difficult to determine the ignition source after the fire. However,
recent studies attribute significant [14], if not the majority of structure ignitions
to ember spotting [15].
Ember spotting is the process by which burning pieces of biomass or other
flammable materials are moved significant distances by the wind and/or gas move-
ment induced by the fire. Typically, there are three aspects of embers spotting: the
production of the embers, their transport, and finally the spot fire ignition. The
transport of the embers is the better-understood part of the process [16–19]. How-
ever, topics such as ember exposure (number, mass, or energy fluxes of embers)
[20], and ember ignition capability including the structure ignition vulnerabilities
have only recently been studied [21].
To help prevent embers in WUI fires from igniting structures, an ember ex-
posure scale such as the one proposed by NIST [14] could be used by developers
of performance-based building codes which would provide guidelines for defend-
ing structures against ember attack. A crucial step towards developing an ember
exposure scale is the quantification of relevant properties of ember exposure such
as the ember flux (mass or number of embers per unit area) the ember temper-
atures, burning rates and Heat Release Rates (HRR). Diagnostic capabilities for
the remote measurement of temperatures of burning or glowing embers, could be
combined with existing particle tracking algorithms to provide much of this data.
Traditional thermography or Thermal Imaging (TI), which estimates the tem-
perature of an object by measuring the intensity of infrared light emitted by the
object can be used to measure the temperature of embers [22, 23], but it is of lim-
ited value in this application because of both fundamental and technical challenges.
First, thermography requires knowledge of the emissivity of the material under
study to accurately invert the Stefan-Boltzmann equation to recover the tempera-
ture. Second, thermal imaging sensors are currently limited in both their resolution
and their response time, making them ill-suited to the observation of small, quickly
moving embers. Color pyrometry addresses these concerns admirably, in that it
is less sensitive to material emissivity, object size, and speed. Further, it can be
performed with conventional visible-light cameras, which are small, provide excep-
tional spatial resolution, and are readily available [24]. Color pyrometry using dig-
ital cameras has been applied effectively to measure temperatures of hot objects in
flames such as silicon carbide fibers (thin filament pyrometry) [25–27]. Point mea-
surements of temperatures in coal particle combustion have been performed using
Color Pyrometry since as early as the 1970’s [28] and recently temperature mea-
Temperature Measurement of Glowing Embers with Color Pyrometry 3
surements of moving coal particles have been measured [29]. Surface temperature
of burning wood particles in a high temperature reactor have also been imaged
using CP [30].
In this study we measure the temperature of static glowing embers with CP
under controlled airflow velocities and we identify behaviors such as ash accumula-
tion on embers, which could effect temperature measurements with other methods.
This is investigated through experiments using various sized embers exposed to
various air speeds using CP and, in some of the conditions, IR photography which
demonstrates that different levels of ash accumulation or air speeds could effect
the temperature of the ember. The results provide data under controlled condi-
tions which could be used to inform future ember combustion models and could
be compared to future temperature measurements of moving embers. The results
could be used to make more physically grounded ember transport, and similar
experiments could be performed to get measurements for temperatures of fallen
embers or ember piles.
2 Color Pyrometry (CP)
Traditional CP allows for a temperature measurement of a gray body by measuring
the intensities of at minimum two discernible wavelengths of light and calculating
the surface temperature which would produce those intensities. CP can be accom-
plished using a suitable camera with a Bayer filter array. The Bayer filter separates
light into three channels in the visible spectrum, (i.e. Red, Green, and Blue) [31].
The Bayer filter allows the camera’s detector to measure a spectral intensity over
different overlapping wavelength bands. Instead of two discrete spectral intensity
ratios, ratios of the integrated spectral intensities observed by the color channels
are used to the same end. These color ratios, Ci,j between the ith and jth color
can be predicted with Eq. 1.
Ci,j =R(λ)IP lank(λ, T )τ(λ)ηi(λ)
R(λ)IP lank(λ, T )τ(λ)ηj(λ)(1)
where IP lank(λ, T ) is the spectral intensity distribution of light emitted with
respect to wavelength, λ, according to the Planck blackbody radiation law, and T
is the temperature of the glowing body, τ(λ) is the transmissivity of the optics, and
ηi(λ) is the spectral sensitivity of the sensor. The only optical equipment used for
these experiments is a BG-40 filter. It is used to balance the intensities of the color
channels - improving the measurement ratio-signal and avoiding saturation of the
red color channel. In this work we assume that the emissivity was constant with
respect to wavelength, and thus would cancel out in Eq. 1. The integrals in Eq. 1
are integrated over wavelengths from 400 to 720 nm (the camera’s response spec-
trum) with resolution of 1 nm for temperatures from 570-1200oC. This produces a
predicted color ratio for every temperature in the range considered. Then the color
ratios can be measured using the data from the image produced by the camera.
The temperature can be determined by finding the temperature which produces
the same predicted color ratio [26, 27]. While the analysis here may seem quite
complex, it only has to be done once to calibrate the system (camera and optical
system). Alternatively, the camera and optical system can be calibrated in a more
4 James L Urban, Michela Vicariotto, Derek Dunn-Rankin, & Carlos Fernandez-Pello
Fig. 1 View of experimental apparatus from the top. The camera heights are such that the
center of their lenses are in-plane with the center of the ember sample. The camera lenses
were offset horizontally and vertically such that they were as close as possible to prevent any
differences caused by viewing angle.
crude manner by taking images of a blackbody at a known temperature and curve
fitting the temperature of the blackbody to the observed color ratio.
3 Experiments
A schematic of the experimental set-up is shown in Figure 1. The ember sample
was mounted on a metal spike and placed in the approximate centerline of a
bench-scale wind tunnel. The wind tunnel test section is 550 mm in length with
a 130x80 mm2cross section. The ember was placed 225 mm from the entrance of
the opening of the test section. Laboratory air is flown through the wind tunnel
at speeds between 1 and 4 m/s. An opening was made on the side of the tunnel to
allow for optical access without the use of glass which would affect the spectrum
of light transmitted to the camera.
For the CP measurements, a Nikon D90 camera was used, with an aperture
setting of f/2 to f/4 and ISO sensitivity set to 200 and the focal length was ap-
proximately 0.5m. Care must be taken to turn off all image enhancements options
on the camera and to save the images as RAW images. The RAW images are con-
verted to a linear 16-bit depth TIFF files using the open source software DCraw,
with all color correction and white balance off. The RGB intensities from the TIFF
file allows for calculation of the color ratios at each pixel, then the surface temper-
ature at each pixel location using data obtained through calibration [26, 27]. An
infrared camera FLIR SC-620 was also used for comparison of the two temperature
measurement methods, and qualitative verification of the CP approach.
Experiments were performed on simulated embers formed from birch dowel
rods, 6.5, 9.5, 11, and 15.9 mm in diameter and cut to an aspect ratio of 1. The
dowels were heated and ignited with a flame from a butane torch. The heating
times were 15, 20, 22, and 25 seconds for the 6.5, 9.5, 11, and 15.9 mm diameter
embers, respectively.
During tests images were collected at a rate of roughly 0.3 Hz. For the tests
comparing the CP and IR temperature measurements,pictures were taken simul-
Temperature Measurement of Glowing Embers with Color Pyrometry 5
taneously with the D90 and FLIR cameras. The CP measurements of ember tem-
peratures were compared with those measured with a fine bead thermocouple with
a diameter of 0.005in (0.1 mm). However, the point of contact of the thermocou-
ple bead on the ember surface cooled (ceased glowing/turned black) immediately
making thermocouple measurements of dubious accuracy. The precision of the
CP measurement was determined by evaluating the temperature distribution of a
glowing steel ball bearing which had been heated in a furnace. The CP tempera-
ture measurement showed an approximately Gaussian distribution with a standard
deviation of 9.7oC.
4 Results
During the experiments the embers exhibited glowing combustion and a wake flame
trailing the ember for a short period after ignition. The wake flame was often lifted
from the ember and the surface beneath it exhibited less glowing than the front.
After this short period the ember sustained glowing combustion at its surface and
its mass decreased with time. In some cases, ash will be formed over the ember
surface and was intermittently removed from the surface by the wind. The visual
intensity of the glowing appeared to increase with increasing wind speeds.
4.1 Comparison of CP and IR measurements
To compare the temperature measuring capabilities of CP and TI, the results of
the ember temperature measurements using CP were compared with TI using an
IR camera. Both the CP and IR cameras were pointed at the same ember and a
small set of tests were completed to compare them. Characteristic results of these
comparison tests are shown in Figure 2, where (a) has results taken right after
the ember was ignited and (b) has results taken 6 seconds later. In (a) and (b)
the top-left sub-figure contains temperature images from the IR camera, the top-
right has temperatures from the CP, and the bottom sub-figure has distributions
of the pixel temperatures. The temperature distribution from the IR camera is
displayed assuming three different emissivity values: of 0.95, 0.4, and 0.68. These
values correspond to carbon black [32], ash [33], and the mean of the two values.
The missing/dark section at the bottom in the second image is the sample holder
which has been exposed by the receding ember surface.
From the temperature distributions functions in (a), the IR camera results
best agree if the emissivity used by the IR camera was selected between 0.95
and 0.68 while for (b) the CP and IR results appear to better fit if the mean
value, 0.68 is used. From the results of Figure 2b, it seems that the accumulated
ash was reducing the effective emissivity of the ember as the ember burns, as
initially noted by Manzello et al. [22] in a previous study. The changing emissivity
makes accurate measurement with an IR camera or pyrometer difficult because
it requires temporal and spatial characterization of the emissivity for the entire
exposed surface. While using an ”effective emissivity” could be sufficient for some
applications, the value would change as ash accumulates and is shed, making
accurate temperature measurement through intensity based pyrometry inaccurate.
6 James L Urban, Michela Vicariotto, Derek Dunn-Rankin, & Carlos Fernandez-Pello
Fig. 2 Results of IR camera and CP directly after the ember (diameter = 9.5 mm, airspeed
of 3.6 m/s) is ignited (a), and again after the ember has burned for approximately six seconds
and accumulated significant ash (b). Results for (a) and (b) include IR and CP images as well
as temperatures distribution of glowing ember from the CP (blue) and the IR camera in green
at various assumed effective emissivities, eff , ranging from carbon black, 0.95, to ash, 0.4.
4.2 Color Pyrometry Measurements
Temperatures of glowing embers at different air flow speeds were measured using
CP as indicated above. It was observed that the local temperature of the ember
fluctuates as it burns. Based on visual observations and the CP images, the accu-
mulation of ash around the ember both limits light emission from the ember, but
also oxygen delivery to the glowing surface. The ash is periodically removed by the
wind causing the observed temperature fluctuations. Figure 3 shows the history of
an ember. The successive columns (i-v) correspond to different times during the
experiment (separated by 6s) from ignition of the ember to burnout. The first row
contains images taken by the camera and post-processed with the default camera
settings, the second row contains the CP temperature images colored to show the
temperature using the colorbar at the right of the figure, and the final row are the
pixel temperature distribution of the ember surface from the image in the second
row. With exception of the temperature right after ignition and near burn-out,
the mean temperature of the ember surface during all tests was observed to be
in the range of 750 to 950oCand maximum ember surface temperatures of up to
1100oC.
From these results we can observe several things: first the surface tempera-
tures of an ember can be considerably higher than reported temperatures in the
literature. Anthenien et al. [17] uses an ember temperature of 720oC, reported
by [34]. The temperatures reported by Ohlemiller [34] are for smoldering combus-
tion in a U channel of wood which is a significantly different scenario to that of
a glowing ember in an air flow. Moreover, measurements by Ohlemiller [34] were
performed with a thermocouple which could cause localized cooling of the ember
and leading to a lower temperature measurement. Recently, the temperature of
embers in a laboratory environment has been measured with an infrared imager
Temperature Measurement of Glowing Embers with Color Pyrometry 7
Fig. 3 (row a) Images of 15.9 mm diameter ember burning in an airflow of 3.85 m/s at various
times (approx. 6 seconds apart), (row b) CP images of ember surface (flame is cropped out) and
(row c) pixel histograms and distribution of pixel temperatures. The reader is recommended
to view the full-color version online. It should be noted that the color in the images in row a
is different than what might be observed with the naked eye because they were taken through
the BG-40 filter, which preferentially transmits light in the blue and green wavelengths more
than in the red wavelengths, and then processed using default settings for DCraw.
[35] and temperatures between 600 to 900oCare reported, although it is unclear
what emissivity value was used.
The local variations in surface temperature shown in Fig. 3 are believed to
primarily be based on differences in the local heat transfer with the surrounding
air flow and the oxygen transport to the glowing combustion reaction zone. Other
effects such as ash accumulation and surface cracking would then affect these pro-
cesses at different locations of the ember. To better examine the role of the airflow
on the ember combustion, we can compare temperature of embers in different air
flows.
The results of the average glowing temperatures are shown in Figure 4. This
average temperature was calculated by taking the average of the pixel temperatures
from the CP images, and then taking the average for all images during the test
until the ember completely burned or so significantly that it fell off the sample
holder, which took longer for larger embers. The results show a trend of increased
ember glowing temperature with wind speed. Specifically, a roughly 150 - 200oC
increase in temperature was measured when the wind speed was increased from 1
to 4 m/s. A clear trend with ember diameter however was not observed, although
smaller sizes exhibited more variation in average temperature between different
embers. The observed increase in ember surface temperature with flow velocity
is due to the fact that the increased air speed leads to more oxygen delivery to
the surface reaction, increasing the heat release rate. This, in turn, increases the
ember’s glowing surface temperature resulting in brighter radiation.
8 James L Urban, Michela Vicariotto, Derek Dunn-Rankin, & Carlos Fernandez-Pello
Fig. 4 Average glowing temperatures measured from ember experiments (scatter points) as
a function of air flow velocity and Reynolds number.
Fig. 5 Diagram of ember glowing combustion model
5 Discussion
5.1 Glowing Combustion Model
To better understand the experimental results shown in Fig. 4 it is useful to develop
a simplified model of the smoldering combustion of an ember in a convective air
flow. For this purpose, an analytical a model of the thermo-chemical mechanisms
taking place during the glowing combustion of an ember in a convective oxidizer
flow is developed in this section. The objective of the model is to predict the
glowing surface temperatures of a glowing ember in the vicinity of its stagnation
point show in Fig. 5.
For the analysis, we assume the ember is effectively a sphere because although
it starts as a cylinder, the aspect ratio is unity and the corners become rounded
as it burns, approaching a spherical geometry. As a glowing ember is exposed to
Temperature Measurement of Glowing Embers with Color Pyrometry 9
the air flow, heterogeneous surface oxidation reactions take place, which heat the
ember, and produce CO and CO2, and leave behind ash. The heated surface also
is cooled by convective heat transfer to the surrounding flow and radiation heat
transfer to the surroundings. There are also conductive heat losses into the inside
of the ember, which are assumed to be small enough that they can be neglected due
to the low thermal conductivity of the wood ember. The heterogeneous reaction is
assumed to only be significant in a thin outer layer of the ember that is presumed
fully charred.
Visual observation of glowing embers in the experimental portion of this work
reveals that the glowing is significantly stronger in the leading face of the ember.
This is because the local Nusselt and Sherwood numbers change with the polar
angle from the stagnation point of the sphere. With these assumptions the temper-
ature of the leading face of the ember can be calculated by balancing the energy
equation on the surface of the ember, as
QrxnhM T ρairYO2=hH T (TT) + σ(T4T4
) (2)
where the left-hand term is the heat released by the reaction, and the terms on
the right-hand side are the convective and radiative heat losses, respectively. The
temperatures Tand Tare that of the glowing combustion zone and the ambient
surroundings, respectively. ef f and σare the effective emissivity and the Stefan-
Boltzmann constant respectively. The properties of air are evaluated at the film
temperature (mean of ambient and glowing combustion temperatures), with the
exception of the density of air, ρair, which is evaluated at the ambient temperature.
YO2is the mass fraction of oxygen in air. The effective emissivity was allowed to
vary between values discussed above (0.4 to 0.95) and represents the uncertainty
in the model from the emissivity.
Qrxn is the energy released from the char oxidation reaction that is absorbed
by the ember, per unit mass of oxygen, 2.59MJ/kg (oxygen basis). This assumes
that only a portion, 0.285, of the energy released by the reaction is absorbed by
the ember similar to [36]. As with previous glowing ember burning rate models
[16, 17, 36] we assume that the rate is dominated by convective mass transfer
of oxygen to the surface. The mass transfer and heat transfer coefficients are
calculated using a Sherwood number and Nusselt number correlations for a sphere:
hMT =S h ·DO2/Air/demb (3)
hHT =N u ·kair/demb (4)
where Nu is the Nusselt number, Sh is the Sherwood number, DO2/Air is the dif-
fusion coefficient of oxygen in air and kair is the thermal conductivity of air, both
evaluated at the film temperature, and demb is the ember diameter. If the velocity
of the air is increased, the Reynolds number will increase, increasing both convec-
tion mass and heat transfer. The increase in the mass transfer of oxygen causes
the reaction to progress faster and the glowing reaction should reach a higher tem-
perature under steady conditions. The local Nusselt and Sherwood numbers are
given by the equations:
10 James L Urban, Michela Vicariotto, Derek Dunn-Rankin, & Carlos Fernandez-Pello
Nu = 2 + F s(Re, φ)·Re1/2P r1/3(5)
Sh = 2 + F s(Re, φ)·Re1/2Sc1/3(6)
where Re is the Reynolds number, P r is the Prandtl number, Sc is the Schmidt
number, and F s is the local Fr¨ossling number as a function of the angle from the
stagnation point, φ, [37]. There is no change in F s with φfor φ < π/2 (90o), and
depending on the flow and surface roughness, the flow may separate creating a
wake. For Reynolds number below 7500 [37] (the maximum value in the experi-
ments was 3852), the Fossling number in the wake is lower valued [37], indicating
less effective convective heat transfer. This is reasonable, as the flow near the
stagnation point has the freshest air and consequently, the air is also the coldest
(closest to ambient temperature) while in the wake the air would be hotter and
have lower amounts of O2.
The dependence of F s on Re captures enhanced convection by grid-level turbu-
lence. For the experiment here we assumed that grid level turbulence was present
but not strong and we used the lowest, non-zero value in the correlation in Ref.
[37]. With these assumptions, the local Fr¨ossling number at the stagnation point is
given in Eq. 7, where νis the kinematic viscosity of air at ambient temperature
and νsurf is the kinematic viscosity the temperature of the surface, for this the
average glowing temperature was used.
F s(Re) = ν
νsurf .16
(1.03 + .002 ·Re) (7)
Fig. 6 Average glowing temperatures measured from ember experiments (scatter points) as
a function of air flow velocity and Reynolds number. Superimposed are curves of the simple
ember glowing combustion model using an emissivity value of 0.68 (mean of ash and car-
bon emissivities) and shaded regions marking the temperatures predicted if the emissivity is
changed by ±0.05.
Temperature Measurement of Glowing Embers with Color Pyrometry 11
The glowing surface temperature of the ember can be predicted by solving Eq.
2 together with Eqs. 3 to 7 numerically for the ember sizes and flow speeds used
in the experiments. The results of the model are included in Figure 6 with the
results from the average pixel temperatures measured with CP in the experiments
previously shown in Fig. 4. The model results include the predicted temperature
assuming the emissivity is the mean of ash and carbon emissivities, 0.68 shown
by the lines and a shaded region showing how the temperature would vary if
the emissivity were changed by ±0.05, which demonstrates the strong effect on
the emissivity. This helps explain the scatter in the experiments, in fact if the
emissivity was varied from 0.4 to 0.95 the variation in the model results would
encompass the majority of the average temperatures.
It is seen that the model predicts the experimental results qualitatively, with
the glowing temperature monotonically increased with flow speed. This is due to
the increase in the heat release rate of the glowing combustion with the wind
speed, which overcome the increased convective heat losses from the ember to the
surrounding ambient. The predicted ember temperatures monotonically increase
with a sublinear trend with velocity while the experimental data appears to follow a
linear trend, albeit scattered. Another difference is that the model predicts a larger
difference in temperature than that observed in the experiments. One possible
explanation is that the model does not account for heat and mass transfer to
the ember through the ash. The model is also observed to under-predict the
temperature of large particles, a possible explanation is that a larger fraction of
the heat generated by the oxidation reaction is retained by the larger embers, and
in the model presented here we assume that fraction is constant. The remaining
variation in the experiments is likely caused by uncontrollable variable factors
including the inhomogeneity of wood, complex cracking and pyrolyzate venting
phenomena.
6 Conclusion
This work shows that color pyrometry can be applied to measure the surface
temperature of glowing embers. The method provides a robust, high resolution,
method to measure the temperature of embers and other incandescing solids ob-
jects. Unlike IR cameras, the method does not require knowledge of the emissivity
of the glowing surface. It was also observed that ash produced by the char ox-
idation of the ember causes significant variation in its surface temperature and
also locally occludes the surface of the ember. The temperature variations are due
to periodic removal of the ash by the air flowing past the ember. The ash makes
intensity-based methods for measuring the surface temperature (e.g. IR cameras)
more difficult to use as the ash will have a lower emissivity than the charring wood.
This difficulty can be overcome by using the color pyrometry technique to measure
the ember temperature. In the present experiments we have measured the glowing
on the ember directly with color pyrometry and found the average temperature to
be roughly 750 to 950oC. These temperatures are roughly 20 to 220oChigher than
surface temperatures attributed to embers before, with better agreement seen at
lower flow conditions.
To examine the variation of the glowing ember temperature with air flow ve-
locity, a model was developed to predict the dependence of the ember temperature
12 James L Urban, Michela Vicariotto, Derek Dunn-Rankin, & Carlos Fernandez-Pello
on the air flow velocity. The model predicts qualitatively well the experimental ob-
servations with the glowing temperature monotonically increasing with flow speed,
and helps explain the nature of the results.
References
1. CalFire, California Statewide Fire Summary. Tech. rep., Cal Fire (2017)
2. CalFire, Top 20 Most Destructive California Wildfires. Tech. rep., Cal Fire
(2018)
3. CalFire, Top 20 Deadliest California Wildfires. Tech. rep., Cal Fire
4. L. Bonos, A.B. Wang, C.R. Wootson Jr. Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Napa California
fires: Death toll rises as winds ease up - (2017)
5. L.M. Krieger. Wine Country fires: Why are they so
deadly, destructive and diffcult to stop? (2017). URL
https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/15/california-fires-why-so-deadly-
destructive-and-difficult-to-stop/
6. P. Pagni, Fire Safety Journal 21(October 1991), 331 (1993). URL
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/037971129390020Q
7. S.E. Caton, R.S.P. Hakes, D.J. Gorham, A. Zhou, M.J. Gollner, Fire Technol-
ogy pp. 1–45 (2016). DOI 10.1007/s10694-016-0601-7
8. S.G. Badger, NFPA Journal (6) (2012). URL http://www.nfpa.org/news-
and-research/publications/nfpa-journal/2012/november-december-
2012/features/2011-large-loss-fires
9. Cal Fire, Valley Incident Damage Inspection Report CALNU008670, Septem-
ber 12, 2015. Tech. rep., CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 3 (2015)
10. C. Lampin-Maillet, A. Mantzavelas, L. Galiana, M. Jappiot, M. Long, G. Her-
rero, O. Karlsson, A. Iossifina, L. Thalia, P. Thanassis, Wildland urban inter-
faces, fire behaviour and vulnerability: characterization, mapping and assess-
ment. Tech. rep. (2010). URL https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00593577
11. P. Reszka, A. Fuentes. The Great Valparaiso Fire and Fire Safety
Management in Chile (2015). DOI 10.1007/s10694-014-0427-0. URL
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10694-014-0427-0
12. B. Teague, R. McLeod, S. Pascoe, Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final
Report. Tech. Rep. 332, 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (2010)
13. New Zealand Forest Service, The New Zealand Fire Service Emergency
Incident Statistics 2009-2010. Tech. rep., New Zealand Fire Service,
Wellington, NZ (2010). URL http://www.fire.org.nz/about-us/Facts-and-
Figures/Documents/Stats-09-10s.pdf
14. A. Maranghides, W. Mell, Framework for Addressing the National Wildland
Urban Interface Fire Problem–Determining Fire and Ember Exposure Zones
Using a WUI Hazard Scale. Tech. rep., Nationalist Institute of Standards
& Technology (2013). DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.6028/NIST.TN.1748. URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.6028/NIST.TN.1748
15. W.E. Mell, S.L. Manzello, A. Maranghides, D. Butry, R.G. Rehm, Interna-
tional Journal of Wildland Fire 19, 238 (2010). DOI 10.1071/WF07131. URL
www.publish.csiro.au/journals/ijwf
16. S.D. Tse, A. Fernandez-Pello, Fire Safety Journal 30, 333 (1998). DOI
10.1016/S0379-7112(97)00050-7
Temperature Measurement of Glowing Embers with Color Pyrometry 13
17. R.A. Anthenien, S.D. Tse, A. Carlos Fernandez-Pello, Fire Safety Journal
41(5), 349 (2006). DOI 10.1016/j.firesaf.2006.01.005
18. C.S. Tarifa, P.P.d. Notario, F.G. Moreno, Symposium (International) on Com-
bustion 10(1), 1021 (1965). DOI 10.1016/S0082-0784(65)80244-2. URL
http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0082078465802442
19. J. Woycheese, P. Pagni, in International Journal on Fire Re-
search and Engineering (ICFRE3), (Chicago, IL, 1999). URL
http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire99/PDF/f99110.pdf
20. J.C. Thomas, E.V. Mueller, S. Santamaria, M. Gallagher, M. El Houssami,
A. Filkov, K. Clark, N. Skowronski, R.M. Hadden, W. Mell, A. Simeoni, Fire
Safety Journal 91(April), 864 (2017). DOI 10.1016/j.firesaf.2017.04.002. URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.firesaf.2017.04.002
21. S.L. Manzello, S. Suzuki, Y. Hayashi, in Fire Safety Journal, vol. 54 (2012),
vol. 54, pp. 181–196. DOI 10.1016/j.firesaf.2012.06.012
22. S.L. Manzello, S.H. Park, T.G. Cleary, Fire Safety Journal 44(6), 894 (2009).
DOI 10.1016/j.firesaf.2009.05.001
23. A. Filkov, S. Prohanov, E. Mueller, D. Kasymov, P. Martynov, M.E. Hous-
sami, J. Thomas, N. Skowronski, B. Butler, M. Gallagher, K. Clark, W. Mell,
R. Kremens, R.M. Hadden, A. Simeoni, Proceedings of the Combustion Insti-
tute 36(2), 3263 (2017). DOI 10.1016/j.proci.2016.06.125
24. B.C. Connelly, S.A. Kaiser, M.D. Smooke, M.B. Long, Joint Meeting of the
U.S. Sections of the combustion Insitiute 2(3) (2005)
25. J.D. Maun, P.B. Sunderland, D.L. Urban, Applied optics 46(4), 483 (2007).
DOI 10.1364/AO.46.000483
26. R.E. Padilla, Structure and Behavior of Water-laden Methane/Air Flames.
Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Irvine (2016)
27. F.H. Wu, R.E. Padilla, D. Dunn-Rankin, G.B. Chen, Y.C. Chao, Proceedings
of the Combustion Institute 36, 4391 (2016). DOI 10.1016/j.proci.2016.06.012.
URL www.sciencedirect.com www.elsevier.com/locate/proci
28. H. Kobayashi, Coal devolatilization of pulverized coal at
high temperature. Ph.D. thesis, MIT (1976). URL
https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/26754/02933723-
MIT.pdf?sequence=2
29. P. Toth, T. Draper, A.B. Palotas, T.A. Ring, E.G. Eddings, Applied Optics
54(13), 4049 (2015). DOI 10.1364/AO.54.004916
30. H. Lu, L.t. Ip, A. Mackrory, L. Werrett, J. Scott, D. Tree, L. Baxter, AIChE
Journal 55(1), 243 (2009). DOI 10.1002/aic.11677
31. P.B. Kuhn, B. Ma, B.C. Connelly, M.D. Smooke, M.B. Long, Proceedings of
the Combustion Institute 33(1), 743 (2011). DOI 10.1016/j.proci.2010.05.006.
URL http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1540748910000209
32. Omega Eng. Emissitivity of Common Materials. URL
https://www.omega.com/literature/transactions/volume1/emissivitya.html
33. K. Ragland, D. Aerts, A. Baker, Bioresource Technology
37(2), 161 (1991). DOI 10.1016/0960-8524(91)90205-X. URL
http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/096085249190205X
34. T.J. Ohlemiller. Smouldering Combustion Propagation on Solid Wood (1991).
DOI 10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.3-565
35. V. Fateev, M. Agafontsev, S. Volkov, A. Filkov, Fire Safety Jour-
nal 91(February), 791 (2017). DOI 10.1016/j.firesaf.2017.03.080. URL
14 James L Urban, Michela Vicariotto, Derek Dunn-Rankin, & Carlos Fernandez-Pello
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.firesaf.2017.03.080
36. N. Sardoy, J.L. Consalvi, B. Porterie, A.C. Fernandez-Pello, Combustion and
Flame 150(3), 151 (2007). DOI 10.1016/j.combustflame.2007.04.008
37. T. Galloway, B. Sage, International Journal of
Heat and Mass Transfer 11, 539 (1968). URL
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0017931068900951
... However, most of these data are qualitative, and the studies largely report on ignition probabilities of the fuel studied. Very recently, the research groups at the University of Edinburgh [23], University of Maryland [29][30][31][32], University of California Berkeley [33], and others [34] performed advanced experiments to study thermal characteristics of embers (e.g., ember temperature and heat transfer as well as factors and conditions that affect each one) and identify conditions under which the wooden substrate would ignite. These experiments provide insights into measurement techniques and associated uncertainties. ...
... Addressing the limitations of infrared thermography associated with its dependency on surface emissivity, Urban et al. [33] recently used color pyrometry to measure temperature of an ember placed in a wind tunnel. They compared color pyrometry with infrared thermography measurements taken simultaneously and concluded that the color pyrometry was more accurate and appropriate for ember temperature measurements than infrared thermography. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The ignitability of structural components due to ember attack is a common cause of the structural fires in wildland-urban interface (WUI) communities. To fire-harden structures in WUI communities, it is important to be able to quantitatively predict the ignitability of wooden substrates in response to ember exposure. To commence this effort, in this manuscript, past studies have been compiled and analyzed to identify the knowledge gaps. Key topics are reviewed, including ignition of structures in WUI fires, measurement of thermal response of solid wood products used in residential structures, controlling mechanisms of ignition and sustained smoldering of wood, measurement of ember properties, real-scale and bench-scale experiments assessing ember ignitability of structural components, and surrogate ignition sources for assessing smoldering propensity of the wooden substrates. Existing standard test methods have also been reviewed in the light of their ability to represent common exposures observed in the WUI environment. The experimental data from past studies have provided guidance in developing building codes and standards for reducing the susceptibility of structures to WUI fires. Relationships have been developed between ember size, fuel moisture content, and ignition frequency of common structural components. However, most of these data are qualitative, and the studies largely report on ignition probabilities of the fuels studied under specific test conditions. Advanced experiments have been designed to quantify the thermal characteristics of embers (i.e., ember temperature and heat transfer as well as factors and conditions that affect each one) thus providing information on net heat flux, peak heat flux, and heat flux and temperature distributions of ember piles. These studies also assess wind conditions and heating times required for initiation of smoldering and subsequent transitioning to flaming combustion, and provide an initial understanding of selected factors affecting ember ignitability of wood-based materials. Despite these efforts, available empirical data on the ember ignition of solid wood substrates are limited and is not sufficient to predict the ignitability and sustained smoldering of wood products exposed to an arbitrary set of conditions they may face in the WUI. Without the ability to quantitatively predict the ember ignitability of wooden substrates outside of specific, pre-defined experimental conditions, it is difficult to develop a system for risk assessment and tools to reduce structural losses from wildland fires. A comprehensive review of alternative ignition sources as surrogates for an ember or pile of embers has indicated that electrical resistance heaters are capable of initiating smoldering ignition in solid wooden substrates. The power output of such heaters can be carefully controlled to generate well-defined heat transfer conditions comparable to those measured for piles of real embers, which may develop in WUI fires. It is anticipated that the use of surrogate ignition sources will provide a robust, accurate, and efficient approach to validate the performance of computational models designed to quantitatively predict the smoldering behavior of a combustible solid based on simulation of the chemical and physical mechanisms controlling this behavior and knowledge of the material's thermophysical properties.
... In the present study, the uncertainty due to potential cooling from the WC-HFG is estimated to be on the order of ∼10% at most. The potential cooling was estimated for a firebrand pile at a temperature of 800 • C, an average based on Urbas et al. (2004), Caton et al. (2016), and Urban et al. (2019), with a gauge held at the water temperature of 20 • C, assuming radiative heat transfer between the firebrands and the WC-HFG. Given the difference in size between the pile and the gauge, cooling by the WC-HFG is ∼10% for the worst case scenario (i.e., the lowest longtime heat fluxes measured). ...
... While averaged temperatures for the inner TSCs for the large pile reach about 700 • C, the temperatures of individual TSCs reached well over 900 • C instantaneously at higher wind speeds. These temperatures correspond well with previously measured temperatures by Urban et al. (2019) using color pyrometry. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the thermal conditions preceding ignition of three dense woody fuels often found on structures by firebrands, a major cause of home ignition during wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires. Piles of smoldering cylindrical firebrands, fabricated from wooden dowels, were deposited either on a flat inert surface instrumented with temperature and heat flux sensors or on a target fuel (marine-grade plywood, oriented-strand board, or cedar shingles) to investigate critical conditions at ignition. The former provided thermal data to characterize the time before and at ignition, while the latter provided smoldering and flaming ignition times. Tests were conducted in a small-scale wind tunnel. Larger firebrand piles produced higher temperatures at the center of the pile, thought to be due to re-radiation within the pile. Ignition was found to be dependent on target fuel density; flaming ignition was additionally found to be dependent on wind speed. Higher wind speeds increased the rate of oxidation and led to higher temperatures and heat fluxes measured on the test surface. The heat flux at ignition was determined by combining results of inert and ignition tests, showing that ignition occurred while transient heating from the firebrand pile was increasing. Ultimately, critical ignition conditions from firebrand pile exposure are needed to design appropriate fire safety standards and WUI fire modeling.
... The temperatures were measured using IF cameras, and these demonstrated an internal temperature can reach values above 800ᵒC. Recently the transient accumulation and shedding of ash on the surface of the glowing embers were investigated [Urban et al. 2019], in it was concluded that emissivity is very important and may change the measured temperature. They measured temperatures in the embers surface from 750ᵒC to 900ᵒC, but no time duration or temperature surface transmission was presented. ...
... The primary optimisation to reduce cost and scale would be to substitute the infrared camera with a modified consumer grade camera. Since it has been demonstrated that accurate measurement of a falling, rotating particle's temperature is complicated by the variability in orientation and actual temperature and the relatively low time in the field of view, a bespoke calibration is likely to be required so high resolution optical pyrometry is not required and alternative techniques may be appropriate [23]. Reducing the thermal information to this level would allow for significant cost reduction while only introducing the need for a laboratory calibration to determine the appropriate thresholds to distinguish between hot and cold firebrands. ...
Article
Full-text available
A new instrument to quantify firebrand dynamics during fires with particular focus on those associated with the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) has been developed. During WUI fires, firebrands can ignite spot fires, which can rapidly increase the rate of spread (ROS) of the fire, provide a mechanism by which the fire can pass over firebreaks and are the leading cause of structure ignitions. Despite this key role in driving wildfire dynamics and hazards, difficulties in collecting firebrands in the field and preserving their physical condition (e.g. dimensions and temperature) have limited the development of knowledge of firebrand dynamics. In this work we present a new, field-deployable diagnostic tool, an emberometer, designed to provide measurement of firebrand fluxes and information on both the geometry and the thermal conditions of firebrands immediately before deposition by combining a visual and infrared camera. A series of laboratory experiments were conducted to calibrate and validate the developed imaging techniques. The emberometer was then deployed in the field to explore firebrand fluxes and particle conditions for a range of fire intensities in natural pine forest environments. In addition to firebrand particle characterization, field observations with the emberometer enabled detailed time history of deposition (i.e. firebrand flux) relative to concurrent in situ fire behaviour observations. We highlight that deposition was characterised by intense, short duration “showers” that can be reasonably associated to spikes in the average fire line intensity. The results presented illustrate the potential use of an emberometer in studying firebrand and spot fire dynamics.
Article
Firebrand spotting is a major cause for structure losses in wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires. When firebrands land nearby and accumulate into groups or piles, they can act as a more competent ignition source compared to single firebrands. While experimental studies have demonstrated this, and measured the enhanced ability to ignite fuels, it is not understood under what critical conditions the firebrands act as an accumulation rather than individual isolated firebrands. This work is an experimental and numerical study of how the fuel bed thermal interactions influence the subsequent flaming ignition propensity of wood in contact with two electric heaters acting as idealized firebrands. The experiments use electrical cartridge heaters of two sizes (7.5 and 15 mm in width) which produce an incident heat flux to the fuel (up to 60 kW/m²) to create controllable heating conditions comparable to those from firebrands. It is observed that decreasing the heater size requires higher heat fluxes to the fuel for ignition to occur. When a second heater is introduced within a certain critical distance it is found to hasten ignition or make ignition possible with a lower incident heat flux to the fuel. Numerical modelling is used to elucidate the importance of thermal interactions in the fuel on the propensity of flaming ignition. The numerical modelling is also used to examine a broader range of idealized firebrand sizes (5 − 50 mm) and the separation distance between idealized firebrands in finer resolution. The model 2D captures the qualitative ignition behavior well and even shows quantitative agreement in most cases.
Article
In firebrand deposition scenarios, there are a few possible outcomes: no ignition, smoldering, and flaming ignition. The criteria for determining smoldering or flaming ignition is generally qualitative in nature. Experiments were conducted to determine a quantitative ignition criterion. Firebrands were deposited on cellulose insulation fuel beds under an impinging air jet at two different velocities while thermocouple measurements were taken in the fuel bed and cameras recorded the tests in the visible and IR spectrum. The firebrand temperature and the temperatures within the fuel bed were insufficient to predict the ignition of the fuel bed. However, using the IR camera to monitor the growth of the reacting area in the fuel bed, a quantitative definition of ignition was found. Over the course of a test, different growth rates, representing different phases in the ignition process, were apparent in the non-dimensional reacting area. The initial phase, right after deposition, increased as 0.003 1/s, and the final phase average growth rate was 0.18 1/s. The time to the final growth rate matched well with the flaming ignition times recorded in the visible videos. The average error between the observed and predicted time to flaming ignition was 12%. This non-dimensional reacting area analysis provides a framework for determining ignition in a quantitative way.
Article
Firebrand piles are known to ignite combustible infrastructure resulting in significant damage; however, the parameters that impact the heat transfer from firebrand piles to a combustible surface are not well understood. Heat transfer from a firebrand pile is directly related to the local firebrand temperatures which can vary significantly due to changes in the burning behavior. A two-phase flow analytical model was developed that includes time varying firebrand diameter, reradiation effects between firebrands, gas temperature and species evolution, and pile porosity effects. The analytical model was used to quantify the temperature of cylindrical firebrands and explore the effects of changing firebrand diameter, firebrand aspect ratio (pile porosity), gas velocity, and local oxygen mass fraction. All of these parameters were found to impact firebrand temperatures. Firebrand pile porosity has a significant impact on the velocity within the pile, with a decrease in pile porosity resulting in lower velocities and lower firebrand temperatures. The modeling results were used to explain the trends in heat transfer measured for firebrand piles on a horizontal plate.
Article
Understanding the parameters that affect firebrand burning conditions is needed to quantify and model heat transfer from firebrands to combustible surfaces. In this research, an experimental and analytical effort was conducted to determine the variable relationships that control firebrand burning. A series of experiments were performed to quantify the mass loss rate, temperature, and char diameter change with time for single and arrays of cylindrical firebrands. An analytical model was developed to predict the time dependent burning of firebrands including ash accumulation in forced flow conditions. Six different methods for predicting char oxidation were included in the model to identify the best approach for predicting firebrand burning. Based on the simulation results, the model with char oxidation determined using the heat and mass transfer Reynolds analogy provided the best results with predicted temperatures, char diameter, and mass loss rates within 5%, 4%, and 29% of the single firebrand test data, respectively. Higher differences were predicted with arrays of firebrands, which was attributed to the complex flow field that develops around the firebrands. Analysis of the analytical equations was used to identify the variable relationships affecting firebrand temperature, mass loss rate, char diameter, and burning duration.
Article
The light field sectioning pyrometry (LFSP) has proven a significant advancement for in-situ measurement of flame temperature through a single light field camera. However, the spatial resolution of LFSP is limited, which severely inhibits the measurement accuracy. This paper aims to evaluate the spatial resolution of LFSP for flame temperature measurement quantitatively. A theoretical model of the spatial resolution is established based on optical parameters and point spread function of the light field camera. The spatial resolution is then numerically analyzed with different parameters of light field cameras. Based on the theoretical model, a novel cage-typed light field camera with a higher spatial resolution of LFSP is developed and experimentally evaluated. A significant improvement of spatial resolution about 17% and 50% in lateral and depth directions, respectively, is achieved. Results show that the spatial resolution is in good agreement with the theoretical model. The LFSP is then evaluated under different combustion cases and their temperatures are reconstructed.
Article
Full-text available
A counterflow configuration was used to measure thermal and species structure in water-vapor diluted nonpremixed methane–air flames. The motivation is to understand the chemical and thermal effects that water has when it is introduced as a diluent into the fuel side. This work is relevant to combustion processes where water is incorporated naturally in the fuel; e.g., methane hydrates, and when water is added intentionally for emission reduction such as in flares and H2O/fuel emulsions combustion. Experimental data are compared to 1-D computations. The agreement is generally very good, but the one dimensional counterflow diffusion model overpredicts flame temperature and major radical, OH, concentration very near extinction in highly diluted H2O–methane/air diffusion flames. Changes in flame position, flame width, and peak temperature with the addition of water were measured. Flame temperatures were measured with thin filament pyrometry. OH-PLIF is used to characterize the flame reaction zone with water dilution; the OH distribution, flame position and thickness from the OH-PLIF images were measured. The results show that the OH intensity and reaction zone thickness decreases with the increase in water. Predictions and experiments demonstrate that water mainly acts thermally to lower the flame temperature until extinction. The OH maximum intensity shifts towards the air side of the counterflow burner with water addition. OH is also measured with CO2 dilution of the fuel stream, and the results are compared with H2O addition, including comparisons with the OH molar peak predictions obtained using the GRI 3.0 mechanism and the CHEMKIN Pro one dimensional counterflow model. The study indicates that water’s chemical effects are to change the production and depletion of OH, H and O radicals, especially near extinction. Chemical kinetics simulation of the flame demonstrates good agreement in OH and flame temperatures over a wide range of dilution away from extinction, particularly for CO2. An over prediction of the water carrying capacity near extinction is found for highly water-diluted flames.
Article
Full-text available
Free access to this article valid until March 31, 2017: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1UX7D5UKsFs209 This paper represents a study on the characterization of firebrand production which was carried out, using experimental fires conducted as prescribed fires in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, USA in March of 2013-2015. Several preliminary techniques were tested to characterize the firebrand production. Firebrands were collected from three plots for each year and analyzed for mass and size distribution. Thermal imagery was used to measure the velocity, size and number of firebrands in 2014 and 2015. The distribution of firebrands was evaluated in a monitored volume during the experiment. It was found that not less than 70% of collected particles were bark fragments and the rest were pine and shrub branches. The number of firebrands decreases with increasing the cross section area of firebrands. The mass of the particles varied from 5 to 50 mg, and the maximum number of the particles was observed for the mass range of 10-20 mg. About 80% of firebrands were particles with the cross section area of (5-20) x 10-5 m^2. These results are consistent with the available observations of real fires [1, 2]. Processing of infrared video showed that starting from a distance of 13 m from fire front, an increasing number of firebrands were observed in a controlled volume, increasing in number up to 180 per second. Relationships describing the time-variation of the number of particles that dropped on a 1.4 m^2 surface and the number of particles that flew through a 1 m^3 volume were obtained. Comparing the experimental and calculated data, we can conclude that these relationships allow us to describe the two numbers with an acceptable accuracy (adj. R^2 0.74 and 0.86, respectively). In addition, the velocity of the particles, which depended on the wind velocity, was in the 0.1-10.5 m/s range, with an average value of 2.5 m/s.
Article
Full-text available
An experimental and computational study investigates the burning behavior of methane hydrate in an opposed-jet porous burner. The free (convection) burning of methane hydrates is unstable and flame extinction can occur due to water film layer buildup or self-preservation phenomena. The burner allows us to overcome these problems and generates, for a limited time, a stable 1-D methane hydrate diffusion flame. Axial temperature, flame location, and flame width were measured using color-ratio thin filament pyrometry (TFP) from the radiative emission of a silicon carbide fiber that is oriented across the flame. The hydrate flame temperatures are found to be close to 1700 K. Computationally, chemical kinetic calculations with water vapor introduced into the fuel stream, and the opposed flame model and the GRI MECH 3.0 mechanism, simulated conditions of methane hydrate diffusion flames in order to observe the temperature, flame position and thermal width. The computational and experimental results showed close agreement in temperature and indicate that water from the hydrate dilutes the fuel and reduces flame temperatures to approximately 1700 K. TFP allowed us to capture the dynamic movement of the hydrate flame toward the air side as it burned robustly during a process where heat and mass transfer promoted a release in methane and water vapor entrainment into the reaction zone.
Article
Full-text available
Structure loss in wildland fires has significantly increased over the past few decades, affected by increased development in rural areas, changing fuel management policies, and climate change, all of which are projected to increase in the future. This paper is Part II of a two-part review, which presents a summary of fundamental and applied research on pathways to fire spread in the wildland urban interface. Part I discussed the fundamentals of wildland fire spread via radiative heat transfer, direct flame contact, and firebrand exposure. Here in Part II, we cover the response of building components and systems, as well as mitigation strategies used to prevent fire spread into and within communities in the United States. Post-fire investigations, full-scale structural testing, individual component testing, and combined systems or assembly testing have been used to identify building component and system vulnerabilities such as roofs, vents, siding, decks, fences, and mulch. Using results from these tests and investigations at different scales, some knowledge has been gained on specific vulnerabilities and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies, but a quantitative framework has not yet been established. On a community level, the layout of structures and the space between them has been shown to be incredibly important in mitigating wildfire risk. More locally, defensible space around homes has been effective in mitigating exposure from both radiation and direct flame contact. Firebrands still remain a challenge; however, many design recommendations have been proposed to harden structures against firebrand exposures. Recommendations for future research and development are also presented.
Article
Full-text available
Assessing the risk of forest fires in wildland urban interfaces (WUIs) is crucial for wildfire prevention and land management. With the goal of developing an efficient management of fire risk in wildland urban interfaces in European Mediterranean countries, this chapter recommends methods and advices for the identification, characterization and mapping of WUIs as well as for the assessment of the fire hazard, the vulnerability and the damage potential of these areas. These tools are the result of scientific researches and fruit of past experiences analysis. More over this chapter insists on the interest of providing wildland urban interface maps in the purpose to know the real extent of theses areas and to manage their development. It briefly presents the steps of a method to identify, to characterize and to map WUI in European Mediterranean countries combining relevant criteria which are connected to the spatial organization of inhabitant dwellings and the structure of the vegetation. A WUI' typology is established. The method can be easily applied by land agencies or managers easily and is suitable both in large areas or landscape level (small scales) and in local conditions (large scale). Because of their high vulnerability, ignition probability and combustibility, it is important and efficient to focus risk assessment in the WUIs. The chapter brings a method to assess and to map fire hazard levels and vulnerability levels according to WUIs and their environment. Introducing the risk of fire and particularly the vulnerability of the territory with such maps is a way to make the inhabitants becoming aware of fire risk in WUI. This will globally decrease the risk of fire either by reducing fire propagation with biomass removal and or by reducing fire ignition probability together with less carelessness. Accomplishing this goal is strictly related to the designation of suitable prevention messages and preventive actions which can be different according to WUI types.
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of the in situ temperature, size, velocity, and number density of a population of burning coal particles yields insight into the chemical and aerodynamic behavior of a pulverized coal flame (e.g., through means of combustion model validation). Sophisticated and reasonably accurate methods are available for the simultaneous measurement of particle velocity and temperature; however, these methods typically produce single particle measurements in small analyzed volumes and require extensive instrumentation. We present a simple, inexpensive method for the simultaneous, in situ, three-dimensional (3D) measurement of particle velocity, number density, size, and temperature. The proposed method uses a combination of stereo imaging, 3D reconstruction, multicolor pyrometry, and digital image processing techniques. The details of theoretical and algorithmic backgrounds are presented, along with examples and validation experiments. Rigorous uncertainty quantification was performed using numerical simulations to estimate the accuracy of the method and explore how different parameters affect measurement uncertainty. This paper, Part II of two parts that discuss this method [Appl. Opt. 54, 4049 (2015)], describes particle temperature and size measurement in overexposed emission images.
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of the in situ temperature, size, velocity, and number density of a population of burning coal particles yields insight into the chemical and aerodynamic behavior of a pulverized-coal flame, e.g., through means of combustion model validation. Sophisticated and reasonably accurate methods are available for the simultaneous measurement of particle velocity and temperature; however, these methods typically produce single particle measurements in small analyzed volumes and require extensive instrumentation. We present a simple and inexpensive method for the simultaneous, in situ, three-dimensional (3D) measurement of particle velocity, number density, size, and temperature. The proposed method utilizes a combination of stereo imaging, 3D reconstruction, multicolor pyrometry, and digital image processing techniques. The details of theoretical and algorithmic backgrounds are presented, along with examples and validation experiments. By utilizing numerical simulations, rigorous uncertainty quantification is performed in order to estimate the accuracy of the method and explore how different parameters affect measurement uncertainty. The method is described in two parts. The first part, presented in this paper, describes particle velocity and population density mapping by stereo streaking velocimetry using overexposed emission images.
Article
Full-text available
The Great Valparaiso Fire started as a wildfire on the outskirts of the city. The fire spread through the wildland–urban interface towards the city. In 5 days, it claimed the lives of 15 people, injured more than 500 people, destroyed over 2,900 homes, burned over 1,000 ha, and displaced approximately 12,500 people. In this Letter to the Editor, several issues that facilitated the tragic events are discussed.
Article
The laboratory experiment was conducted to simulate the transfer of smouldering particles produced in forest wildfires by a heated gas flow. The pine bark pieces with the linear dimensions L=(15; 20; 30) mm and a thickness of h=(4−5) mm were selected as model particles. The rate and temperature of the incident flow varied in the range of 1–3 m/s and 80–85 °C, respectively. The temperature of the samples was recorded using a thermal imager. To determine the minimum smouldering temperature of pine bark, the thermal analysis was conducted. The minimum smouldering temperature of pine bark was found to be 190 °C. This temperature will cause thermal decomposition of bark only at the first stage (oxidation of resinous components). In the study the smouldering time, the temperature and the weight of samples were obtained and analyzed under various experimental conditions. The data analysis shows that the increase in the particle size leads to the decrease in their mass loss, and the rate change of the incident flow does not practically influence the mass change. For particles with the linear dimensions of 10 mm and 20 mm, the mass varies from 6% to 25%. The maximum mass loss is observed for the flows with a rate of 1 and 2 m/s. The results have shown that the increase in the particle size leads to the increase in the smouldering time. The position of the particle plays an important role, the effect of which increases with increasing the particle size. The calculations showed that the smouldering time of bark samples is long enough for the particles to serve as new sources of spot fires. The particles were found to be transported to a distance of 218 m from the fire line which can certainly influence the propagation of the fire front.
Article
An experimental approach has been developed to quantify the characteristics and flux of firebrands during a management-scale wildfire in a pine-dominated ecosystem. By characterizing the local fire behavior and measuring the temporal and spatial variation in firebrand collection, the flux of firebrands has been related to the fire behavior for the first time. This linkage is seen as the first step in risk mitigation at the wildland urban interface (WUI). Data analyses allowed the evaluation of firebrand flux with respect to observed fire intensities for this ecosystem. Typical firebrand fluxes of 0.82–1.36 pcs m⁻² s⁻¹ were observed for fire intensities ranging between 7.35±3.48 MW m⁻¹ to 12.59±5.87 MW m⁻¹. The experimental approach is shown to provide consistent experimental data, with small variations within the firebrand collection area. Particle size distributions show that small particles of area 0.75–5×10⁻⁵ m² are the most abundant (0.6–1 pcs m⁻² s⁻¹), with the total flux of particles >5×10⁻⁵ m² equal to 0.2–0.3 pcs m⁻² s⁻¹. The experimental method and the data gathered show substantial promise for future investigation and quantification of firebrand generation and consequently a better description of the firebrand risk at the WUI.