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Experiments concerning properties of large diffusion flames burning steadily in a vitiated atmosphere under conditions similar to those which may arise in a room fire are described. The effects of vitiation on the products of combustion and flame lengths, and the extinction limits are described for natural gas and ethylene diffusion flames stabilized on 8.9-, 19- and 50-cm pool-type burners. As vitiation was increased and the flame extinction limit was approached, the flame length increased slightly. Close to the limit, radiation from soot in the flame became imperceptible, leaving only a weakly luminous blue flame. Even with significant reductions in both the flame height and luminosity near the limit conditions, the hydrocarbon fuels were completely oxidized in the flame to water and carbon dioxide and no measurable concentrations of products of incomplete combustion were produced. A. comparison of limiting oxygen concentrations and limiting flame temperatures for these experiments with the results of other investigations shows reasonably good agreement despite widely varying experimental techniques. These results are contrasted with those obtained in the unsteady situation which arises when a large buoyant diffusion flame burns in an enclosed space such that the upper part of the flame is in a strongly vitiated layer composed of a mixture of air and products of combustion, and the lower part in fresh air.