Production of smoke and carbon monoxide in underventilated enclosure fires
This work is an experimental and theoretical analysis of factors and conditions affecting smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) production in corridor-like enclosure fires. Thirty eight experiments were performed in a three metre long corridor-like enclosure having a cross section 0.5 m x 0.5 m, door-like openings in the front panel and a propane gas burner located near the closed end. Measurements of smoke and carbon monoxide concentrations were performed at locations inside the enclosure and also in the exhaust duct of a hood collecting the combustion products.
The main conclusion of this work is that smoke production depends not only on the fuel and Global Equivalence Ratio (GER) - as is reported in the literature - but also on the temperatures and residence time inside the enclosure, at least for the experimental conditions examined in this study.
Additionally, it was found that the smoke concentration inside the enclosure was increasing during the ventilation controlled regime even after external burning started. Such increase was verified by temperature, smoke and velocity measurements inside the enclosure. The increase was due to reverse flow behind the flames travelling along the corridor. Namely, the gases reversed direction behind the flames with hot gases travelling in the upper layer backwards towards the closed end of the corridor in contrast to hot gas movements towards the opening in front of the flames. This recirculation was confirmed by velocity and oxygen concentration measurements in the upper and lower layers inside the enclosure.
In addition, the present results show that the relationship reported in the literature between smoke and carbon monoxide production during overventilated conditions yco/ys ≈ constant, is no longer valid during an underventilated enclosure fire. The ratio yco/ys increases for the Global Equivalence Ratios of the enclosure greater than one.
The obtained results are useful for CFD validation and specifically applicable for assessing smoke hazards in corridor fires in buildings where smoke concentrations can be much larger than anticipated owing to leakage to adjacent rooms behind travelling flames.