Burning rates of liquid fuels in fire whirls

Jiao Lei, Naian Liu, Linhe Zhang, Zhihua Deng, Nelson Kudzo Akafuah, Tianxiang Li, Kozo Saito, Kohyu Satoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This paper presents semi-empirical investigations on the quasi-steady burning rates of laminar and turbulent fire whirls established over liquid fuel pools. The inflow boundary layer above the fuel surface consists of two regions: outer reactive region and inner non-reactive region. Based on the momentum boundary layer solutions with the applications of stagnant film model and Chilton-Colburn analogy, the burning rates are correlated with ambient circulation and pool size for laminar and turbulent fire whirls respectively. It is shown that in general pool fires the mass and heat transfers on the fuel surface are controlled by natural convection, while in fire whirls they are strongly enhanced by forced convection. Fuel evaporation rate in the outer region is relatively larger than that in the inner region. The large proportion of fuel evaporated from the outer region is mainly due to its larger area. The predictions agree well with the data from the present experiments and the literature. Furthermore, the flame height is confirmed to be proportional to the ambient circulation for both laminar and turbulent liquid fire whirls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2104-2114
Number of pages11
JournalCombustion and Flame
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored by National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, No. 2012CB719702 ), National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants 51076148 and 51120165001 , and National Key Project of Scientific and Technical Supporting Programs (No. 2011BAK07B01 ). Jiao Lei was funded by the CAS Special Grant for Postgraduate Research, Innovation and Practice and Chinese Scholarship Council.


  • Boundary layer
  • Burning rate
  • Diffusion flame
  • Fire whirl
  • Flame height

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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