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Flame Radiation Properties in Fires

James White and Sébastien Vilfayeau (Ph.D.s), Vivien Lecoustre (Research Assoc.)

NSF, FM Global, United Technologies Research Center (GOALI program)
Collaborators: A.W. Marshall, P.B. Sunderland (UMD)

The general objective of this research project is to support the development and validation of large eddy simulation (LES) models used to simulate thermal radiation emission/transport in compartment fires. Such models are used to resolve the radiative emissions from the flame, constituting a mixture of hot gaseous combustion products and soot particles, as well as the transport of flame radiation through suppression media such as a water spray. The specific objectives are to: evaluate and compare the performance of spectrally-averaged (gray) and spectrally-resolved (wide-band) models to describe gas/soot radiative emissions in fires; and evaluate the performance of wide-band models to describe attenuation of thermal radiation across water sprays.

Numerical simulations of simple one-dimensional canonical configurations are performed with an advanced spectrally-resolved (narrow-band) radiative transport solver developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and called RadCal. Numerical simulations of more complex configurations are performed with two advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) capabilities: FireFOAM developed by FM Global ( and the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) developed by NIST ( Both CFD-based fire models feature state-of-the-art computational environments and physical modeling capabilities, including advanced LES models and multi-physics models, (e.g. to describe turbulence, mixing, pyrolysis, combustion, convective heat transfer, radiative heat transfer, etc).

RadCal simulations of radiation transport across a one-dimensional column of gas. Synthetic spectral absorption coefficient for H2O in the spectral range 1000–1050 cm-1, produced using HITRAN 2012 line specifications at 296 K, 10 vol% H2O, 1 atm (left). Comparison of narrow-band and gray modeled total transmissivities in the spectral range 1400-1600 cm-1 plotted as a function of optical depth, for a 1D layer at 800 K containing 5 vol% H2O at 1 atm (right).

To learn more:

Lecoustre, V.R., Wakatsuki, K. and Jackson, G.S. (2014) “Fitting narrow-band models to temperature-dependent, spectral absorption coefficients of fuel vapors,” J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf., 147:24–37.


James, Vivien, and Sebastien

James White (left) is a Doctorate Student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. For further information about his research, James can be contacted at:

Vivien Lecoustre (center) is a Research Associate in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering. For further information about his research, Vivien can be contacted at:

Sébastien Vilfayeau (right) is a Doctorate Student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. For further information about his research, Sébastien can be contacted at: