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Experimental Observations of PMMA Spheres Burning at Reduced Gravity.

pdf icon Experimental Observations of PMMA Spheres Burning at Reduced Gravity. (2839 K)
Yang, J. C.; Hamins, A.; Glover, M.; King, M. D.

Microgravity Combustion Workshop, Fourth (4th) International. Proceedings. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Lewis Research Center. NASA Conference Publication 10194. May 19-21, 1997, Cleveland, OH, 243-248 pp, 1997.


polymethyl methacrylate; reduced gravity; combustion; experiments


Polymer combustion is a very complicated process which involves the coupling of gas-phase combustion, melting, pyrolysis and possible charring of the condensed phase. Although only a few studies on the combustion of a spherically shaped polymer have been conducted, there is renewed interest in the subject. At the Third International Microgravity Combustion Workshop, we presented a preliminary experimental plan and proposed an apparatus to study the combustion of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) sphere at reduced gravity. In this paper, we describe the experimental hardware in detail, summarize our observations since the last workshop, and describe future studies. The main objective is to determine the burning rate of PMMA spheres at reduced gravity under different ambient oxygen concentrations and total pressures. The dependence of the burning rate on the initial sphere diameter will be examined. It is anticipated that the simple spherical geometry in conjunction with reduced gravity will facilitate an assessment of the effect of condensed phase behavior on polymer burning processes and can be used as a means to test polymer combustion models.