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An experimental investigation of the heat transfer from a buoyant gas plume to a horizontal unobstructed ceiling


Veldman, Charl Christo (1975) An experimental investigation of the heat transfer from a buoyant gas plume to a horizontal unobstructed ceiling. Engineer's thesis, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/NJR4-M471.


This thesis presents an experimental investigation of the axisymmetric heat transfer from a small scale fire and resulting buoyant plume to a horizontal, unobstructed ceiling during the initial stages of development. A propane-air burner yielding a heat source strength between 1.0 kW and 1.6 kW was used to simulate the fire, and measurements proved that this heat source did satisfactorily represent a source of buoyancy only. The ceiling consisted of a 1/16" steel plate of 0.91 m. diameter, insulated on the upper side. The ceiling height was adjustable between 0.5 m and 0.91 m. Temperature measurements were carried out in the plume, ceiling jet, and on the ceiling.

Heat transfer data were obtained by using the transient method and applying corrections for the radial conduction along the ceiling and losses through the insulation material. The ceiling heat transfer coefficient was based on the adiabatic ceiling jet temperature (recovery temperature) reached after a long time. A parameter involving the source strength Q and ceiling height H was found to correlate measurements of this temperature and its radial variation. A similar parameter for estimating the ceiling heat transfer coefficient was confirmed by the experimental results.

This investigation therefore provides reasonable estimates for the heat transfer from a buoyant gas plume to a ceiling in the axisymmetric case, for the stagnation region where such heat transfer is a maximum and for the ceiling jet region (r/H ≤ 0.7). A comparison with data from experiments which involved larger heat sources indicates that the predicted scaling of temperatures and heat transfer rates for larger scale fires is adequate.

Item Type:Thesis (Engineer's thesis)
Subject Keywords:Mechanical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Mechanical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Zukoski, Edward E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:2 May 1975
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07302013-114324564
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7919
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:30 Jul 2013 20:28
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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