Temperature and Motion Tracking of Metal Spark Sprays

  • Yudong Liu
  • James L. UrbanEmail author
  • Chuanlong XuEmail author
  • Carlos Fernandez-Pello


The temperature, velocity, and size of hot metal sparks are essential to understanding their ability to ignite flammable materials. However, existing measurement methods have limitations to achieve detailed, in situ measurements of these parameters. This paper describes a methodology that combines color-ratio pyrometry and particle streak tracing velocimetry, together with digital image processing to obtain non-intrusive measurements of the temperature, velocity, and size of multiple sparks in a spray. Furthermore, these measurements can be performed using a properly calibrated commercially available color digital camera. The principle of the measurement is firstly introduced, and the repeatability and accuracy of the method are validated via a designed experiment. Then the method is performed to measure the temperature and velocity of metal (steel) sparks in sprays generated by abrasive cutting. Measurements of initial spark temperatures and velocities are reported, as well as the evolution of the temperature and velocity along the flight path of the sparks. Observed initial spark temperature in this work mostly ranged within 1500°C to 1700°C. Results show evidence of both melting and oxidation of the sparks. Different blade speeds are used to understand their effect on spark velocity and temperature. The results of this study can be used as input parameters for spark oxidation and transport models, which in turn can be used to assess the hazards of spark sprays in wildland spot fires, ignition, explosions of flammable gaseous mixtures and dust clouds, and for monitoring and optimizing the material processes such as thermal-spray coating.


Spot fires Diagnostics Hot work Ignition source 



The authors would like to thank Yong Lu and Shenghao Yu for their contributions to this work. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51676044), the Social Development Project of Jiangsu Province (No. BE20187053), the Postgraduate Research and Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (No. KYCX170081) and the China Scholarship Council (No. 201706090038).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Energy Thermal Conversion and Control of Ministry of Education, School of Energy and EnvironmentSoutheast UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Combustion Fire Processes Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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