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Fire whirls due to surrounding flame sources and the influence of the rotation speed on the flame height

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 July 2007

Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
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In this paper, we use numerical simulation and laboratory experimental observation to show that fire whirls can be generated spontaneously through the interaction between a central flame and surrounding organized or randomly distributed flames. The momentum of the air stream entrained by the main flame decreases as it crosses a surrounding flame, so that the main flame rotates if surrounding flames are arranged in such a way as to block the passage of the air stream directed towards the centre of the main flame and to favour flows in a particular circumferential direction. An analysis is performed to study the role of the rotation speed in the flame height. It is found that the flame height initially decreases to a minimum owing to the inflow boundary layer wind reducing the initial vertical velocity of gas for low rotation speed and to entrainment enhancement reducing the rising time, and then it increases owing to the pressure reduction at the centre of the rotating vortex and entrainment suppression extending the rising time.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007

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