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First Thermal and Fluids Engineering Summer Conference

ISSN: 2379-1748
ISBN: 978-1-56700-430-4

ERROR REDUCTION IN THE "THERMAL CUBE" HEAT FLUX SENSOR USED IN WILDLAND FOREST FIRES

DOI: 10.1615/TFESC1.fnd.012598
pages 963-975

Shammawi A. Anderson
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2G8, Canada

Razim Refai
VIT University, Tamil Nadu, 632014, India

Andre G. McDonald
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2G8, Canada


KEY WORDS: Error analysis, Heat transfer, Heat flux, Thermocouple, Wildland forest fire.

Abstract

Energy release from high heat load scenarios, such as wildland forest fires, was quantified with a robust heat flux sensor that was developed and combined with a one-dimensional, finite-length scale, transient heat conduction model. To reduce the high errors in the heat flux data, the sensor was modified to measure the differential temperature in order to mitigate the propagation of error. Simulated heat load tests were performed by using an electric radiant heater and a mass loss cone calorimeter to verify the reduction in error and the results were compared to those obtained from the unmodified sensor and a commercial heat flux gauge. With this modification, it was shown that the errors could be reduced to 90% for low heat flux (less than 13 kW/m2) measurements and to 32% for high heat flux (greater than 42 kW/m2) measurements. Unmodified, the heat flux sensor produced very large errors on the order of 110% at low heat fluxes and lesser, but still significant, errors of 54% at high heat fluxes. There were also high noise levels in the heat flux data. The results suggest that differential temperature measurement is an effective method for significant error reduction when estimating high heat fluxes.

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