Experimental Procedure for Laboratory Studies of In Situ Burning : Flammability and Burning Efficiency of Crude Oil

Laurens van Gelderen, Grunde Jomaas

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A new method for the simultaneous study of the flammability and burning efficiency of fresh and weathered crude oil through two experimental laboratory setups is presented. The experiments are easily repeatable compared to operational scale experiments (pool diameter >= 2 m), while still featuring quite realistic in situ burning conditions of crude oil on water. Experimental conditions include a flowing water sub-layer that cools the oil slick and an external heat flux (up to 50 kW/m2) that simulates the higher heat feedback to the fuel surface in operational scale crude oil pool fires. These conditions enable a controlled laboratory study of the burning efficiency of crude oil pool fires that are equivalent to operational scale experiments. The method also provides quantitative data on the requirements for igniting crude oils in terms of the critical heat flux, ignition delay time as a function of the incident heat flux, the surface temperature upon ignition, and the thermal inertia. This type of data can be used to determine the required strength and duration of an ignition source to ignite a certain type of fresh or weathered crude oil. The main limitation of the method is that the cooling effect of the flowing water sub-layer on the burning crude oil as a function of the external heat flux has not been fully quantified. Experimental results clearly showed that the flowing water sub-layer does improve how representative this setup is of in situ burning conditions, but to what extent this representation is accurate is currently uncertain. The method nevertheless features the most realistic in situ burning laboratory conditions currently available for simultaneously studying the flammability and burning efficiency of crude oil on water.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57307
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Volume135
Number of pages12
ISSN1940-087X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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