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Abstract

Accidental fires and their effects on the structural integrity of buildings are responsible for significant loss of human lives, economic assets, and environmental resources in the United States and across the globe. One cause of the collapse of the World Trade Center and the collapse of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico was the failure of structural materials under large heat loads from fires. Flame impingement or flame structure interaction studies are essential for understanding the effects of fire on the structural integrity of buildings. Radiation is an important mode of heat transfer to the structural element, and measurements of radiation intensities from the flame are useful for improving the understanding of heat transfer from the flame to the structure. This study investigates the radiation intensities and radiation heat flux from flames with and without impingement on a flat steel plate based on plate location relative to burner, fuel mass flow rate, and fuel type. The quantitative comparison between measured radiation intensities of impinging and non-impinging flames shows significant increases in radiation intensities near the surface of the plate. The radiation heat flux to the environment is lower for impinging flames, indicating high heat transfer to the plate. Quantitative knowledge gained from this study can be used to estimate structural integrity under large heat loads and to manufacture structural elements that are more resistant to fire.

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