Countercurrent Flame Propagation and Quenching Behaviour in a Packed Bed of Spherical PMMA Beads in an Upward Flow of Pure Oxygen

Shuoshuo Zhou, Xiaobin Qi, Jian Gao, Xinyan Huang, Dongke Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Countercurrent flame propagation and quenching behavior in a packed bed of spherical polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) beads in an upward flow of pure oxygen was experimentally studied. Monosized PMMA beads of 2, 5, 8 or 10 mm in diameter (d) were packed in a vertical quartz tube of 35 mm ID to form a bed of 180 mm in height. In a typical experimental run, upon ignition from the top, a blue flame formed and propagated downwards. For d = 10, 8, or 5 mm, there existed a minimum oxygen flow rate (q) to sustain a quasi-steady state flame propagation, and the minimum q increased as d decreased from 10 to 5 mm. However, for d = 2 mm, it was not possible for the flame to propagate downwards irrespective of the q value. The apparent pyrolysis rate (m py) of PMMA was estimated by monitoring the bed mass loss rate, from which the nominal equivalence ratio upon flame quenching was also estimated. The equivalence ratio was found to be less than unity upon flame quenching, suggesting insufficient pyrolysis gases to sustain the combustion. The heat transfer between flame and PMMA bead was analyzed theoretically, and it was revealed that the minimum m py to sustain the quasi-steady state flame propagation inversely correlates with the PMMA particle size, and therefore a higher oxygen flow rate is required to sustain the flame propagation in a packed bed of smaller PMMA particles.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalCombustion Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Countercurrent flame propagation
  • flame quenching
  • packed bed
  • PMMA
  • pyrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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