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Measuring Energy Transfer from Wildland Forest Fires Open Access


Other title
Heat flux
Heat flux sensor
Wildland fires
Temperature measurement
Transient heat conduction
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Sullivan, Erik A
Supervisor and department
McDonald, Andre
Examining committee member and department
McDonald, Andre (Mechanical Engineering)
Mendez, Patricio (Chemical & Materials Engineering)
Kumar, Aloke (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Current practices for measuring high heat flux, in scenarios such as wildland forest fires, are to utilize expensive, thermopile-based sensors, coupled with mathematical models based on a semi-infinite length-scale. While these sensors are acceptable for experimental testing in laboratories, high errors or needs for water-cooling limits their applications in field experiments. Therefore, a one-dimensional, finite-length scale, transient heat conduction model was developed and combined with an inexpensive, thermocouple-based rectangular sensor to create a rapidly deployable, non-cooled sensor for testing in field environments. Constant heat flux, tree burning tests, and a surface fire field experiment were conducted to validate the proposed analytical model and test the sensor in simulated and real fire settings. The proposed heat flux measurement method provided results similar to those obtained from a commercial heat flux gauge, to within one standard deviation. This suggests that the use of a finite-length scale model, coupled with an inexpensive thermocouple-based sensor, is effective in estimating the intense heat loads from wildland fires.
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File title: Abstract
File title: Measuring Energy Transfer from Wildland Fires & Testing of Wildfire Suppression Chemicals
File author: Erik Sullivan
Page count: 95
File language: en-US
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