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A review of research and experimental study on the pulsation of buoyant diffusion flames and pool fires

journal contribution
posted on 24.11.2009, 13:26 by Weeratunge MalalasekeraWeeratunge Malalasekera, Hendrik VersteegHendrik Versteeg, K. Gilchrist
This paper reviews the past research, experimental techniques and scaling relationships used in the studies of oscillatory buoyant diffusion flames and reports an experimental investigation conducted to determine the pulsating characteristics of such flames. The experimental data were obtained by using three techniques, namely, pressure fluctuation measurements, thermal imaging and high-speed video photography. Present findings are compared with data sets reported in the literature and correlations for pulsation frequency suggested by previous studies are independently verified. Analysis of the experimental data on frequency of pulsations in different burners shows that for a fixed-diameter flame the pulsation frequency is almost independent of fuel flow rate. The equation f=1.68D-0.5 gives the best approximation for the relationship between pulsating frequency and diameter over a wide range of data. An alternative way of expressing the relationship between the key variables is St=0.52*(1/Fr)0.505. This proves to be a better way of expressing the relationship since it can include the effect of the fuel flow rate. Slight modifications to this expression allows prediction of flame oscillations under elevated/reduced gravity and isothermal buoyant plumes. This relationship and the observations of the present study confirm the hydrodynamic nature of flame puffing: interplay of buoyancy and fluid motion.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


MALALASEKERA, W., VERSTEEG, H.K. and GILCHRIST, K., 1996. A review of research and experimental study on the pulsation of buoyant diffusion flames and pool fires. Fire and Materials, 20 (6), pp. 261-271


© John Wiley & Sons, Ltd


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This article is closed access, it is an article from the journal, Fire and Materials [© John Wiley & Sons, Ltd]. The definitive version is available at and the article can be viewed at<261::AID-FAM578>3.0.CO;2-M





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