Quantification of the Fire Thermal Boundary Condition

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Virginia Tech

The thermal boundary condition to a fire exposed surface was quantified with a hybrid heat flux gage. Methods were developed to determine the net heat flux through the gage, incident heat flux, cold surface heat flux, convective heat transfer coefficient, adiabatic surface temperature, and the separated components of radiative and convective heat flux. Experiments were performed in a cone calorimeter with the hybrid gage flush mounted into UNIFRAX Duraboard LD ceramic board. The results were then compared to results obtained with a Schmidt-Boelter gage and a plate thermometer. The hybrid heat flux gage predicted a cold surface heat flux within 5% of cold surface heat fluxes measured with a Schmidt-Boelter gage. Adiabatic surface temperature measurements compared well with the plate thermometer measurements at steady state.

Hybrid gage measurements were performed on flat plate samples of Aluminum 5083, Marinite P, and UNIFRAX Duraboard LD ceramic board. The gage and sample assemblies were exposed to mixed-mode heat transfer conditions in a cone calorimeter. Temperature measurements were performed at the top, center, bottom surfaces of the marinite and ceramic board samples. A single midpoint temperature was performed on the aluminum. Boundary condition details obtained with the hybrid gage were then input to the commercial finite element analysis package Abaqus. Abaqus was used to create the flat plate geometries of the sample and variable temperature dependent material properties were used for each material. Measured temperatures were then compared to the model predicted temperatures with good results.

Hybrid gage measurements were verified using a new experimental apparatus. The apparatus consisted of an impinging jet assembly, a tungsten lamp, and a gage holster assembly. The impinging jet was used to expose the gage to isolated convection and the lamp was used to expose the gage to isolated radiation. The gage holster assembly was used to water cool the gage when desired. Measurements performed with the gage water cooled in isolated convection allowed for the convective heat transfer coefficient to be determined. Two methods were developed to determine the convective heat transfer coefficient in mixed-mode heat transfer conditions. These methods were then verified by comparison to the isolated heat transfer coefficient. Similarly, the incident radiation was isolated by water cooling the gage while only the lamp was on. The components of heat flux were then separated for mixed-mode comparisons and were verified against this isolated radiation. The hybrid gage predicted convective heat transfer coefficients within 10% of the isolated heat transfer coefficient and incident heat fluxes within 11% of the isolated radiation.

heat flux gauge, fire, temperature predictions, heat flux partitioning, heat flux separation, thermal boundary condition, temperature profile