This paper provides alternative methodology to reproduce the smoldering of a 2-mm dia biomass stick in reduced gravity by utilizing a reduced-pressure approach. Since smoldering has been known as an initial process of fire hazard, a deep understanding of its characteristics is an important task to improve fire safety strategy in space. The aim of the present work is to examine the possibility to reproduce the smoldering in microgravity by utilizing the low pressure. The smoldering behavior and the temperature profile inside the specimen are studied experimentally for both vertical and horizontal orientations to modify the gravity effect. The considered range of pressure is 1.0 kPa to 100 kPa and adopted oxygen concentration are 0.23 and 0.38 in mass fraction. It is found that the identical smoldering rates for both orientations using small-scale specimen for all pressure conditions studied. However, the measured thermal structure shows the slight difference depending on the sample orientation, especially when the pressure is applied above 80 kPa. The difference in thermal structure is less-pronounced when less than 80 kPa pressure is employed. The simple analysis confirms that the smoldering temperature becomes lower when the total pressure is reduced through the reduction of surface oxidative reaction rate. Therefore, combination of (1) applying small-scale specimen together with low pressure technique to suppress the contribution of buoyancy-induced transport and (2) adopting higher oxygen environment to compensate the reduction of heat release at low pressure could be one of methodologies to mimic the smoldering of reduced gravity environment.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Zabel P, Bamsey M, Schubert D, Tajmar M (2016) Review and analysis of over 40 years of space plant growth systems. Life Sci Space Res 10:1–16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lssr.2016.06.004
Loura H (2017) Space farming yields a crop of benefits for earth. NASA Space Technology. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/space-farming-yields-a-crop-of-benefits-for-earth. Accessed 6 Oct 2018
Monje O, Stutte GW, Goins GD, Porterfield DM, Bingham GE (2002) Farming in space: environmental and biophysical concerns. Adv Space Res 31:151–167. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0273-1177(02)00751-2
Yamashita M, Ishikawa Y, Kitaya Y et al (2006) An overview of challenges in modeling heat and mass transfer for living on Mars. Ann NY Acad Sci 1077:232–243. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1362.012
Maggi F, Pallud C (2010) Space agriculture in micro- and hypo- gravity: a comparative study of soil hydraulics and biogeochemistry in a cropping unit on Earth, Mars, the Moon, and the space station. Planet Space Sci 58:1996–2007
Hossner LR, Ming DW, Henninger DL, Allen ER (1991) Lunar outpost agriculture. Endeavour 15:79–85. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0160-9327(05)80009-2
Armstrong JA (1973) Spontaneous combustion of forest fuels: a review. Canadian Forestry Service. http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/pubwarehouse/pdfs/24806.pdf. Accessed 6 Oct 2018
Tuomisaari M, Baroudi D, Latva R (1998) Extinguishing smouldering fires in silos. BRANDFORSK project 745-961, Espoo 1998, Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT Publications 339
Ramirez A, Garcia-Torrent J, Tascon A (2010) Experimental determination of self-heating and self-ignition risks associated with the dusts of agricultural materials commonly stored in silos. J. Hazard Mater 175:920–927. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.10.096
Rein G (2009) Smouldering combustion phenomena in science and technology. Int Rev Chem Eng 1:3–18
Wang S, Zhang X (2008) Microgravity smoldering combustion of flexible polyurethane foam with central ignition. Microgravity Sci Technol 20:99–105. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12217-008-9014-7
Stocker DP, Olson SL, Torero JL, Fernandez-Pello AC (1993) Microgravity smoldering combustion on the USML-1 Space Shuttle mission. In: Heat transfer in microgravity, HTD, vol 269. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, pp 99–110
Walther DC, Fernandez-Pello AC, Urban DL (1999) Space shuttle based microgravity smoldering combustion experiments. Combust Flame 116:398–414. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-2180(98)00095-9
Bar-Ilan A, Rein G, Fernandez-Pello AC, Torero JL, Urban DL (2004) Forced forward smoldering experiments in microgravity. Exp Therm Fluid Sci 28:743–751. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.expthermflusci.2003.12.012
Bar-Ilan A, Rein G, Walther DC (2004) The effect of buoyancy on opposed smoldering. Combust Sci Technol 176:2027–2055. https://doi.org/10.1080/00102200490514822
Nakamura Y, Wakatsuki K, Hosogai A (2013) Scale modeling of space fire. J Jpn Soc Exp Mech 13:s69–s74
Yamazaki T, Matsuoka T, Nakamura Y (2018) Near-extinction behavior of smoldering combustion under highly vacuumed environment. Proc Combust Inst 37:4083–4090. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proci.2018.06.200
Robert B, Klimek B (2005) Spotlight-8 image analysis software, Version 2005.09.12. NASA Glenn Research Center, Ohio. https://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/spotlight/. Accessed 25 Oct 2018
Moussa NA (1975) Mechanism of smoldering combustion in cellulosic materials. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Anca-Couce A, Zobel N, Berger A, Behrendt F (2012) Smouldering of pine wood: kinetics and reaction heats. Combust Flame 159:1708–1719. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.combustflame.2011.11.015
Janse AMC, de Jonge HG, Prins W, van Swaaij WPM (1998) Combustion kinetics of char obtained by flash pyrolysis of pine wood. Ind Eng Chem Res 37:3909–3918. https://doi.org/10.1021/ie970705i
Thomsen M, Fernandez-Pello C, Urban DL, Ruff GA, Olson SL (2019) On simulating concurrent flame spread in reduced gravity by reducing ambient pressure. Proc Combust Inst 37:3793–3800. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proci.2018.05.004
Ragland KW, Aerts DJ (1991) Properties of wood for combustion analysis. Bioresour Technol 37:161–168
Rohsenow WM, Hartnett JP, Cho YI (1998) Handbook of heat transfer, 3rd edn. McGraw-Hill Education, New York, p 2.4
This work is partially supported by JSPS Kakenhi (18H01665) and the fund of JSPS Overseas Challenge Program for Young Researcher. Financial support from Solubonne University for short-intern of one of authors (YL) is greatly appreciated. We thank to Professor K. Saito and Drs. Nelson and Ahmad at IR4TD, The University of Kentucky for their valuable discussions and fruitful advices.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Yamazaki, T., Matsuoka, T., Li, Y. et al. Applicability of a Low-Pressure Environment to Investigate Smoldering Behavior Under Microgravity. Fire Technol 56, 209–228 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10694-019-00911-y
- Fire safety in space
- Low pressure