STP Published: 2002

Thermal Measurements: The Foundation of Fire Standards

Editor(s): Louis A. Gritzo, Norman J. Alvares

Eleven peer-reviewed papers address the significant challenges associated with performing thermal measurements as part of fire standards development, testing and analysis. The testing environment and the results of fire standards tests are almost always based on one or more thermal measurements. Measurements of importance include temperature, heat flux, calorimetry, and gas species concentrations. These measurements are also of primary importance to the experimental validation of computer models of fire growth and material response. Topics cover:

Temperature--despite the frequency of temperature measurement to characterize test environments and material response, challenges remain in consistently performing measurements with quantified uncertainty. This section addresses temperature measurement of conditions ranging from thermal fields in furnace environments to thermal response of engulfed objects in large pool fires and thermal protection effectiveness of firefighter’s clothing. Thermocouples, while straightforward in use and operation, are illustrated as deserving consideration of the uncertainty in measurements for each specific application.

Heat Flux--measurements of heat flux are useful to define the fire thermal field for purposes of evaluating material thermal response. Several established gauges have been extensively in fire standards. As with temperature measurements, the resulting uncertainty varies with the gauge design and the environment. The magnitude of this uncertainty, and the need to perform cost-effective experiments and tests, has yielded some new designs and application techniques. Significant progress associated with existing methods address calibration, angular sensitivity, and uncertainty quantification under large fire conditions.

Calorimetry and Ignition Energy--although not as common as heat flux and temperature measurements, these parameters often play the key role in fire standards for the role they play in the initiation, growth, and spread of fire environments. Heat release rate measurements and the evaluation of oxygen are also discussed. In addition, uncertainty in the measurement of ignition energy is also explored. Modern diagnostics and tools allow a closer look at legacy methods and techniques for performing these measurements.

Audience: This new publication is a valuable reference guide for researchers and engineers who need to measure temperature, radiant flux, and heat transfer; scientists and engineers involved in testing flammability limits of vapor phrase mixtures; testing laboratory personnel; and university professors and students.

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Developed by Committee: E05
Pages: 196
DOI: 10.1520/STP1427-EB
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5477-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-3451-5