Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry

, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp 1617–1626 | Cite as

Experimental study on liquid fire behavior at different effective ceiling heights in a full-size simulated cargo compartment

  • Zhenxiang Tao
  • Rui Yang
  • Cong Li
  • Yina Yao
  • Pei Zhu
  • Hui Zhang


When a fire occurs in an aircraft cargo compartment, the fire plume will rise from a different location, intermittently or continuously impact the ceiling, and form a ceiling jet flame at varying heights. Meanwhile, the low-pressure environment within the cargo compartment has a great influence on flame height and high-temperature zone, which could lead to the violent development of ceiling jet fire. Based on this discussion, a series of square oil pan fires were conducted in a full-size cargo compartment located in Kangding airport (altitude 4250 m, atmospheric pressure 61 kPa). Fire behaviors, such as burning rate, flame temperature, flame heights, and smoke gas temperature distribution beneath the ceiling, were measured and analyzed. The experimental results show that as the effective ceiling height decreases, the burning rate of 30 cm square pan fires grows, with a sharp change in the low-pressure environment (50 kPa), where flames impinges on the ceiling. For 20-cm square pan fires, the burning rate at 50 kPa has the same trend with 30 cm, at 75 kPa looks like a parabolic plot, and at 101 kPa shows a continuous dropping. The centerline flame temperature decreases slowly along the axis when the fire occurs at higher height above the floor. Considering the influence of ambient pressure, effective ceiling height, and oil pan size, an empirical correlation for the ceiling transverse smoke temperature distribution is proposed by modifying the current models.


Effective ceiling height Low pressure Fire behavior Oil pan fire 

List of symbols


Effective ceiling height (m)


Height of the cargo compartment (m)


Square pan length (m)

\(P_{\infty }\)

Ambient pressure (kPa)

\(T_{\infty }\)

Ambient temperature (K)


Burning rate (g s−1)


Air density (kg m–3)


Total release rate (kW)


Oil pool area (m2)


Ideal gas constant (8.31 J K−1 mol−1)


Specific heat capacity (kJ kg−1 K−1)


Gravity acceleration (m2 s−1)


Ceiling plume radius (m)


Ceiling temperature at flame impingement position (K)


Ceiling temperature at the horizontal distance of \(r\) from the impingement position (K)

\(\Delta T_{\text{r}}\)

Ceiling temperature rise at the horizontal distance of \(r\) from the impinging position (K)

\(\Delta T_{0}\)

Ceiling temperature rise at flame impingement position (K)

\(\Delta H_{\text{c}}\)

Combustion heat (kJ kg−1)


Air entrainment coefficient


Temperature attenuation coefficient ration



This work was partially supported by National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2017YFC0803300), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No: U1633203) and the R&D project of Civil Aviation Administration of China (Grant No: 20,160,103).


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering PhysicsTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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