UMD Participates in Wood Stove Challenge


A team from The University of Maryland, Team Mulciber, has been named a finalist in The Alliance for Green Heat’s Next Generation Wood Stove Design Challenge. The Challenge seeks to promote next generation stove designs, build a community of innovators and showcase stove innovation to the public.

The team worked quickly to design, construct, and test a prototype of a stove featuring several innovations that allow for simple operation and clean burning. The Mulciber stove incorporates a forced air flow system, a fixed wood configuration, coaxial heat recovery, and a smart control system, which regulates the stove to optimize temperature and oxygen concentration. These features create a user friendly stove that will far exceed current EPA standards for emissions.

The team will next design, test, optimize, and construct a prototype. In Nov., 2013, Team Mulciber will compete against 13 other finalists from around the world on the National Mall in Washington, DC.


Fire Pots

Fire Pots are Dangerous!

At the request of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, FireTEC conducted a study to explore fire and burn hazards associated with fire pots (small ceramic burners used for ambiance lighting). Numerous accidents have been reported in association with these devices.

Our student engineers developed a remote testing device to explore these fire pot accidents. We found that even a small flame can travel up the ‘pour stream’ into the fuel gel container when refilling, creating an explosive fire event splattering burning fuel gel everywhere.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled the fuel used for fire pots and there is a movement to ban these devices. The video shows it all.

Candles are a Much Safer Option!


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!