Experiment Study of Ignition by Dripping Fire

Peiyi Sun, Shaorun Lin, Xinyan Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Plastics will melt during fire. Melting fuels are falling down because the gravity of melting fuel overcomes its surface tension. These drips always accompany with a flame during falling process, which is capable to ignite other combustible fuel, therefore, promotes the fire disasters. Dripping fire is widely observed in wire fire and facade fire. However, the ignition theory of dripping fire has not be well studied. This work designs a series of lab-scale experiments to investigate the ignition behavior of thermoplastic drips on thermally thin fuel. Four mass of polyethylene (PE) drips and several paper thicknesses are tested separately. Results shows that the ignition number of drips and total dripping mass increase with the paper thickness, which follows the classic ignition theory of thermally thin fuel. Additionally, successful ignition depends on the drips mass and dripping frequency simultaneously, or the heat flux generated by landed drips. This study could help to understand the phase changing and ignition behaviors during fire disasters, and will help to improve the fire safety for buildings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2612-2618
Number of pages7
JournalKung Cheng Je Wu Li Hsueh Pao/Journal of Engineering Thermophysics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Fa¸ cade fire
  • Ignition theory
  • Polyethylene drip
  • Wire fire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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