Two-phase flows accompanying fires in enclosures

Kenyon, Yvonne Michelle (2003) Two-phase flows accompanying fires in enclosures. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The dispersed phase that accompanies enclosure fires, for example, soot, ash, sprinkler droplets and extinguishing powder, could exert a significant influence on the dynamics of the background fluid. In this thesis, the results of a numerical study into the effects of this dispersed phase on the flow in a fire compartment are presented.
A two-dimensional computational fluid dynamics solver, with appropriate approximations for low Mach number flows and mathematical sub-models for two­phase flows, has been developed in order to simulate fire induced convective motions in planar compartments. The description of the dispersed particulate is based on a two­continuum approach, whereby the dispersed phase and the gaseous phase are assumed to be two mutually interacting and penetrating continua. In this thesis, two 'passive' models and an 'active' model of the dispersed phase are considered. In the passive models the particulate acts as a tracer only and has no hydrodynamical influence on the gas phase. The second passive model differs from the first in that the production of gases in the fire compartment, for example arising from combustion or propellant gases due to extinguishment of the fire, is taken into account. This second passive model more accurately predicts the growth of pressure in a sealed fire compartment for weak fires. As the volume fraction of the particulate increases the spatial-temporal hydrodynamic influence exerted on the gaseous flow by the dispersed phase becomes significant and, under certain conditions, a passive representation is insufficient. An active one­temperature and one-velocity model is proposed which is appropriate for the description of a hydrodynamically active particulate with an instantaneous velocity and thermal relaxation time.
In this thesis, computational fluid dynamics is used as a tool in order to characterise the applicability of the passive models and the active model. The ability of the passive models to accurately predict the growth of pressure in a compartment for 'surface' fires, for example smouldering combustion and weak fires, is investigated. The active model is used to study the hydrodynamics of powder extinguishing media in a compartment with an open doorway.

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