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Measurement and Uncertainty of Heat Flux to a Rail-Cask Size Pipe Calorimeter in a Pool Fire

[+] Author Affiliations
M. Alex Kramer, Marcelo A. del Valle, Miles Greiner

University of Nevada - Reno, Reno, NV

Paper No. PVP2008-61600, pp. 285-291; 7 pages
  • ASME 2008 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 7: Operations, Applications and Components
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, July 27–31, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4830-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3828-5
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


The goal of this work was to measure the temporally varying heat flux and surface temperature of a pipe calorimeter in a pool fire, and assess its uncertainty. Three large-scale fire tests were conducted at the Sandia National Laboratories outdoor fire test facility. In each test a cylindrical calorimeter was suspended above a water pool with JP8 fuel floating on top. The calorimeter was a 2.4 m diameter, 4.6 m long, and 2.5 cm wall thickness pipe with end-caps suspended 1 m above the 7.2 m diameter pool. 58 thermocouples were attached to the calorimeter interior surface and backed with 8 cm of insulation. The Sandia One-Dimensional Direct and Inverse Thermal (SODDIT) code was used to determine the calorimeter external surface heat flux and temperature from the measured interior surface temperature versus time. To determine the uncertainty of the SODDIT results, a simulation of the calorimeter in a fire similar to the experiments was performed using the Container Analysis Fire Environment (CAFE) computer code. In this code, a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) fire model applies a temporally and spatially varying heat flux to the exterior surface of a Finite Element (FE) calorimeter model. Flux is similar but not identical to the flux in the experiment. The FE model calculates the internal calorimeter surface temperature, which is used by SODDIT to calculate heat flux which was compared to the applied values. The absorbed heat flux and surface temperature at one calorimeter location was calculated by SODDIT and then compared to the CAFE applied heat flux and surface temperature. From this comparison a base case uncertainty due to inherent inverse calculation errors and frequency smoothing methods is presented. Uncertainties in temperature measurements, calorimeter material properties and wall thickness were applied to the SODDIT calculation and iterated using the Monte Carlo method to determine the overall heat flux and surface temperature uncertainty. The total absorbed heat flux uncertainty at the one studied location is ±4.8 kW/m2 at 95% confidence. The outer surface temperature uncertainty for all data at the one studied location is ±6.6°C at 95% confidence. For all 58 measurement locations, the overall combined total absorbed heat flux uncertainty is ±13.8 kW/m2 at 95% confidence, surface temperature uncertainty is ±7.6°C. These uncertainties are valid only when the calorimeter temperature is not within the Curie temperature range of 999 to 1037K.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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