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Investigation of the Transport Phenomena within the Liquid Phase of a Methanol Pool Fire Open Access


Other title
Velocity distribution
Pool fire
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Vali, Alireza
Supervisor and department
Kostiuk, Larry W. (Mechanical Engineering)
Nobes, David S. (Mechanical Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Flynn, Morris (Mechanical Engineering)
Elliott, Janet (Chemical and Material Engineering)
Weckman, Elizabeth (Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo)
Olfert, Jason (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
A 90 mm diameter methanol pool fire was investigated experimentally and analytically. Aiming for well-defined experiments and understanding the physics of the involved transport processes, the liquid-side boundary conditions including the pool’s bottom temperature the wall thermal conductivity and depth were controlled. Bottom temperature was changed from 0ºC to 50ºC, wall material was altered to copper, stainless steel, and quartz, and L was varied to 6, 12, and 18 mm. Burning rate, flame height, liquid and wall temperatures, and liquid velocity fields were measured under steady-state and quiescent environment conditions. The experimental results showed that the burning characteristics of pool fire (burning rate and flame height) were affected by the liquid-side boundary conditions. The temperature profiles along the pool walls also altered from uniform distributions for the copper pool to significantly non-uniform for the quartz pool. The generally observed liquid thermal structure (a uniform-temperature layer above a steep temperature gradient layer) was influenced by the bottom temperature especially when the wall thermal conductivity increased or the pool became shallower. The velocity measurements within the liquid pool revealed the existence of large-scale mixing motions which profoundly contributed to energy transport from the pool wall into the liquid fuel. An energy model was developed to quantify different heat pathways from the flame to the liquid pool and energy changes within the liquid fuel, which predicted the fuel burning rate within ±10% of the measured values. This analysis showed that the heat transfer from the wall to the liquid pool depended strongly on the wall thermal conductivity. The liquid temperature distributions within the pool were also modeled as a constant-temperature region at the top and an exponentially-decreasing-temperature region in the lower part of the liquid pool. It was shown that when the pool became shallower or its bottom became colder, more energy was required for the liquid sensible energy change and less became available for the fuel evaporation. The experimental results and energy models presented in this study suggested that in order to achieve an accurate energy balance for pool fire, the liquid phase phenomena and boundary conditions were important and should be included.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Vali, A., Nobes, D.S., and Kostiuk, L.W. 2013. Effects of altering the liquid phase boundary conditions of methanol pool fires. Exp. Therm. Fluid Sci., 44, 786-791Vali, A., Nobes, D.S., and Kostiuk, L.W. 2014. Transport Phenomena within the Liquid Phase of a Laboratory-Scale Circular Methanol Pool Fire. Combust. Flame, 161, 1076-1084

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