Novel application of ultrasonic imaging to study smoldering combustion

S. D. Tse, R. A. Anthenien, A. Carlos Fernandez-Pello, K. Miyasaka

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


An ultrasonic imaging technique has been developed to examine the propagation of a smolder reaction within a porous combustible material. The technique provides information about the location of a propagating smolder front, as well as line-of-sight average permeability variations of the smoldering material. The method utilizes the observation that transmission of an ultrasonic signal through a porous material increases with permeability. Since a propagating smolder reaction leaves behind char with a higher permeability than the original material, ultrasound transmission can be employed to monitor smolder progress. The technique can also be used to track the char evolution as it continues to react. Experiments are presented where the technique is applied to smoldering combustion in a two-dimensional geometry. The results have furthered the understanding of two-dimensional smolder, especially in identifying the controlling mechanisms leading to the transition from smoldering to flaming. The applicability of ultrasonic tomography to smoldering combustion has also been investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-449
Number of pages9
JournalNASA Conference Publication
Issue number10194
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1997 4th International Microgravity Combustion Workshop - Cleveland, OH, USA
Duration: May 19 1997May 21 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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