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Water Droplets Behavior in Extinguishing the Methane-Air Counterflow Diffusion Flame

Yoshida A., Uendo T., Takasaki R., Naito H. and Saso, Y., 2011. Water Droplets Behavior in Extinguishing the Methane-Air Counterflow Diffusion Flame. Fire Safety Science 10: 569-582. 10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.10-569


The behavior of fine water droplets was investigated in a methane-air counterflow diffusion flame, specifically when the water droplets were added to the inlet air feed and used to extinguish the diffusion flame. The water droplets studied had a relatively broad size distribution (from 1 to 60 ?m), with the number mean diameter of 15 ?m and Sauter mean diameter of 25 ?m. With an increase in the velocity gradient, the flame approaches towards the stagnation plane and flame thickness decreases. The flame properties, such as flame location and flame thickness are insensitive to the water mass loading. Along the stagnation stream line, the velocity decreases towards a local minimum just before the flame front. In contrast, the velocity increases in the flame zone due to the thermal expansion, and then decreases towards the stagnation point. In the decelerating zone, the droplet mass flux decreases on approach to the flame zone due to a non-equilibrium in velocity of large droplets between liquid and gas phases. Furthermore, as the droplet-laden air approaches the flame front, the flow stream begins to diverge in the counterflow field. Since the small droplets move away from the burner axis, the divergence of the air flow acts to reduce the water droplet mass flux along the stagnation streamline. Large droplets moving faster than the air flow “catch up” to slower ones just before the flame front, and the mass flux of the droplets tends to increase, resulting in the droplets accumulating just before the flame zone. Measurements of the velocities of individual droplets show that large droplets move faster than the small droplets which are in equilibrium (in velocity) between liquid and gas phases. Droplet behavior was found to be controlled by the Stokes number. Equilibrium in velocity is re-established just in front of the flame zone. Closer to the flame front, evaporation occurs and the mass flux of the droplets decreases drastically. On the other hand, thermophoresis acts on extremely small droplets to move them along the steep temperature gradient and these droplets are forced from the high to low temperature regions against the convection velocity. The thermophoretic velocity was estimated in the present study to be compared with the measured convection velocity and it was concluded that the thermophoretic effect is negligibly small over all sizes of droplets.

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