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    Heat and mass transfer are important processes associated with wildland fire. Both radiant and convective heat transfer are important processes with convection often being the dominant mechanism. Unlike radiation, there is no direct method of measuring convection. Since convective heat transfer is governed by the fluid flow, understanding the fluid flow provides good understanding on the convective heat transfer. In fluid mechanics, flow visualization is a common methodology used to understand flow characteristics. Schlieren imagery is a common flow visualization technique which captures changes in fluid density such as the ones occur around a fire. Background-Oriented Schlieren (BOS) is a flow visualization technique that uses a background image with various patterns to visualize the density gradient caused by density fluctuations in a fluid. We applied BOS to measure the flow associated with laboratory-scale line fires. The reproducible fires were spreading in pine needle fuel beds in a wind tunnel with and without imposed wind. This initial application of BOS in a fire environment successfully visualized the flow around the flame. The visualized flow underwent a secondary process to produce the velocity field of the flow. Results indicate that even in conditions where the fire is known to be dominated by radiation, wind carried the thermal plume ahead of the flame front and expanded the thermal plume. In contrast, in the no wind condition, the thermal plume remained vertical above the fire. Using the BOS imagery, a new model for estimation of convective heat transfer was introduced. In addition to estimation of the convective heat transfer ahead of the fire, this new model enables visualization of convective motion.

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    Aminfar, Amirhessam; Cobian-Iñiguez, Jeanette; Ghasemian, Masoud; Rosales Espitia, Nataly; Weise, David R.; Princevac, Marko. 2020. Using Background-Oriented Schlieren to visualize convection in a propagating wildland fire. Combustion Science and Technology. 192(12): 2259-2279.


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    Fire spread, background-oriented schlieren, flow visualization, convective heat transfer

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