Date of Award
Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)
College, School or Department Name
Department of Chemical Engineering
Daniel A Crowl
The flammability zone boundaries are very important properties to prevent explosions in the process industries. Within the boundaries, a flame or explosion can occur so it is important to understand these boundaries to prevent fires and explosions. Very little work has been reported in the literature to model the flammability zone boundaries. Two boundaries are defined and studied: the upper flammability zone boundary and the lower flammability zone boundary. Three methods are presented to predict the upper and lower flammability zone boundaries:
The linear model
The extended linear model, and
An empirical model
The linear model is a thermodynamic model that uses the upper flammability limit (UFL) and lower flammability limit (LFL) to calculate two adiabatic flame temperatures. When the proper assumptions are applied, the linear model can be reduced to the well-known equation yLOC = zyLFL for estimation of the limiting oxygen concentration. The extended linear model attempts to account for the changes in the reactions along the UFL boundary. Finally, the empirical method fits the boundaries with linear equations between the UFL or LFL and the intercept with the oxygen axis. xx Comparison of the models to experimental data of the flammability zone shows that the best model for estimating the flammability zone boundaries is the empirical method. It is shown that is fits the limiting oxygen concentration (LOC), upper oxygen limit (UOL), and the lower oxygen limit (LOL) quite well. The regression coefficient values for the fits to the LOC, UOL, and LOL are 0.672, 0.968, and 0.959, respectively. This is better than the fit of the "zyLFL" method for the LOC in which the regression coefficient’s value is 0.416.
Hansen, Travis Joseph, "Estimation of the flammability zone boundaries with thermodynamic and empirical equations", Master's Thesis, Michigan Technological University, 2009.