What is flashover anyway?
The students in Prof. Stoliarov’s ENFP620 Fire Dynamics Laboratory class performed an impressive flashover experiment to find out for themselves.
The students designed a small room (1.8 m X 1.5 m X 1.5 m) along with state-of-the-art fire instrumentation, which included a load cell (for burning rate), velocity probes (for ventilation rate), heat flux gauges, thermocouples, a computer-based data acquisition system, and lots of cameras! They placed steel pans (0.3 m – 0.5 m dia) in the center of the room filled with heptane (0.6 L – 1.8 L).
We saw clear indications of flashover where the fire behavior transitioned from the ‘fire-in-room condition’ to the ‘room-on-fire condition’. Take a look at the photos and video below. The students measured a steep increase in the fuel burning rate when the room temperatures rose in excess of 600 deg. C corresponding to flashover transition.
Now we know!