SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 26 July 2016

Evaluation of a Near-Adiabatic Compression Process to Increase Fire Safety Within Oxygen Systems, Focusing on Non-Metals


One of the most important ignition mechanisms initiating burning in nonmetallic materials, which is directly linked to many large oxygen system fires, is the rapid or near-adiabatic compression of oxygen against a nonmetallic material. Adiabatic compression testing of components and systems is utilized worldwide to determine their compatibility in oxygen systems. However, limited research is available on how adiabatic compression energy is transferred to nonmetallic materials, leading to ignition. By characterizing the transfer of heat from hot compressed oxygen into the non-metal that occurs prior to ignition, an analytical model will be developed to describe this process. A transient model of non-metals in a pure oxygen environment is considered. The development of the mathematical model that simulates the behavior of non-metal ignition when subjected to a near-adiabatic compression process is presented. The ignition model investigates various physical mechanisms, such as heat transfer mechanisms, and reaction rates to determine processes involved during the transfer of heat from hot oxygen to a non-metal prior to ignition. The focus of this model is the gas/solid interface. This research is currently ongoing. Future work will validate the model experimentally before determining maximum safe compression rates to prevent the ignition of different classes of nonmetallic materials. The significance of this research is to increase the fire safety of oxygen systems by establishing a theoretical model to reduce, or eliminate, one of the most common mechanisms of ignition found within oxygen systems—that is, adiabatic compression.

Author Information

Ryan, Maria
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, AU
Steinberg, Theodore, A.
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, AU
Newton, Barry, E.
WHA-International, Inc., Las Cruces, NM, US
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 405–412
DOI: 10.1520/STP159620150063
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7638-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7637-9