The effect of a step change in gravity level on the stability of low stretch diffusion flames over a solid fuel is studied both numerically and experimentally. Drop tower experiments have been conducted in NASA Glenn Research Center's 5.2 Zero Gravity Facility. In the experiments burning PMMA cylinders, a dynamic transition is observed when the steadily burning 1g flame is dropped and becomes a 0g flame. To understand the physics behind this dynamic transition, a transient stagnation point model has been developed which includes gas-phase radiation and solid phase coupling to describe this dynamic process. In this paper, the experimental results are compared with the model predictions. Both model and experiment show that the interior of the solid phase does not have time to change significantly in the few seconds of drop time, so the experimental results are pseudo-steady in the gas-phase, but the solid is inherently unsteady over long time scales. The model is also used to examine the importance of fractional heat losses on extinction, which clearly demonstrates that as the feedback from the flame decreases, the importance of the ongoing heat losses becomes greater, and extinction is observed when these losses represent 80% or more of the flame feedback.
Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry
Seventh International Workshop on Microgravity Combustion and Chemically Reacting Systems; 137-140; NASA/CP-2003-212376/REV1