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Two-Sided Ignition of a Thin PMMA Sheet in Microgravity.


pdf icon Two-Sided Ignition of a Thin PMMA Sheet in Microgravity. (1290 K)
Nakamura, Y.; Kashiwagi, T.; Olson, S. L.; Nishizawa, K.; Fujita, O.; Ito, K.

Combustion Institute, Symposium (International) on Combustion, 30th. Proceedings. Volume 30. Part 2. July 25-30, 2004, Chicago, IL, Combustion Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, Chen, J. H.; Colket, M. D.; Barlow, R. S.; Yetter, R. A., Editor(s)(s), 2319-2325 pp, 2005.

Keywords:

combustion; microgravity; polymethyl methacrylate; ignition; experiments; lasers; flame spread; irradiation; heat release rate

Abstract:

Numerical computations and a series of experiments were conducted in microgravity to study the ignition characteristics of a thin polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) sheet (thicknesses of 0.2 and 0.4 mm) using a CO2 laser as an external radiant source. Two separate ignition events were observed, including ignition over the irradiated surface (frontside ignition), and ignition, after some delay, over the backside surface (backside ignition). The backside ignition was achieved in two different modes. In the first mode, after the laser was turned off, the flame shrank and stabilized closer to the fuel surface. This allowed the flame to travel from the frontside to the backside through the small, open hole generated by the laser\'01s vaporization of PMMA. In the second mode, backside ignition was achieved during the laser irradiation. The numerical calculation simulating this second process predicts fresh oxygen supply flows from the backside gas phase to the frontside gas phase through the open hole, which mixes with accumulated hot MMA fuel vapor which is ignited as a second flame in the frontside gas phase above the hole. Then, the flame initiated from the second ignition travels through the hole to ignite the accumulated flammable mixture in the backside gas phase near the hole, attaining backside ignition. The first backside ignition mode was observed in 21% oxygen and the second backside ignition mode in 35%. The duration of the laser irradiation appears to have important effects on the onset of backside ignition. For example, in 21% oxygen, the backside ignition was attained after a 3 s laser duration but was not observed after a 6 s laser duration (within the available test time of 10 s). Longer laser duration might prevent two-sided ignition in low oxygen concentrations.