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Talk Abstract
The Modeling of Complex Physical Phenomena in Pyrolyzing Material

Kathryn M. Butler
Building and Fire Research Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology

As gas phase models of flames and fire plumes become more reliable, our ability to accurately predict fire behavior is increasingly limited by oversimplified models of material degradation. For polymeric materials, such complex phenomena as melting, dripping, bubbling, charring, internal absorption of radiation, and barrier effects due to various types of additives may play a critical role in ignition, flame spread, and the physical configuration of the fire. A one-dimensional pyrolysis model incorporating melting is presented as a first step toward modeling flow and dripping in burning thermoplastics. A separate model demonstrates the effects of composite structural elements on heat transfer and mass loss rate.

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1999-2000 Reactive Flow and Transport Phenomena

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