A study of correlation between flame height and gap width of an internal fire whirl in a vertical shaft with a single corner gap

G. W. Zou, H. Y. Hung, Wan Ki Chow

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


An internal fire whirl can be generated by a pool fire burning in a vertical shaft with a single corner gap of appropriate width. In an internal fire whirl, the flame height is an important characteristic in terms of fire safety. In this paper, a correlation expression of flame height with the width of a single corner gap was studied using reported experimental data in a 9-m tall vertical shaft model. A pool of gasoline fuel was burnt inside the shaft model to study the characteristics of flame swirling. An internal fire whirl was generated for gap widths lying between 0.11 m and 0.66 m, when the pool fire was 0.46 m diameter. The flame height was between 2.5 m and 3.2 m. From the experimental observations on flame swirling for different gap widths, coupled with three assumptions on variation of air entrainment velocity with height, an expression relating the flame height and the corner gap width was derived for the internal fire whirl using a set of compiled experimental data. The correlation expression obtained would be useful for fire safety design in vertical shafts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2017


  • Air entrainment
  • Corner gap width
  • Fire whirl
  • Flame height
  • Vertical shaft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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