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Journal Articles Combustion and Flame Year : 2020

Wildfires front dynamics: 3D structures and intensity at small and large scales


The 3D structure of a fire front propagating through a homogeneous porous solid-fuel layer was studied numerically at laboratory and field scales. At laboratory scale, wind-tunnel fires propagating through laser-cut cardboard fuel were numerically reproduced, while at field scale, simulations of grassland fires with quasi-infinite fire front were carried out for different wind speeds. These simulations were performed using FIRESTAR3D, based on a multiphase formulation that includes the main physical phenomena governing fire behavior. An unsteady RANS approach and a Large Eddy Simulation (LES) approach were used to simulate the reactive turbulent flow, whereas turbulent combustion was modeled using Eddy Dissipation Concept (EDC). Unlike other 3D wildfire tools available in the community, such as FIRETEC and WFDS, the model is based on an implicit, low-Mach number resolution of the governing equations, and makes no empirical assumptions in the resolution of the radiative transfer equation. The comparison with the experimental data concerned mainly the Rate of Spread (ROS) of fire, the fireline intensity, the flame-zone depth, and the wavelength characterizing the crest-and-trough structure of the fire front along the transverse direction. Particular attention was drawn to the similitude in the fire front dynamics between small and large scales. In order to highlight the physical mechanisms responsible for this dynamics, a dimensional analysis was carried out by introducing Byram's convection number N-C based on the fireline intensity and Froude's numbers Fr based on the characteristic wavelength of the fire-front structure. The analysis shows that all the results (wind-tunnel fires and grassland fires, experimental and numerical) collapsed on a single scaling law in the form Fr = N-C(-)2/3.
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hal-02892557 , version 1 (21-12-2021)


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Nicolas Frangieh, Gilbert Accary, Dominique Morvan, Sofiane Meradji, Oleg Bessonov. Wildfires front dynamics: 3D structures and intensity at small and large scales. Combustion and Flame, 2020, 211, pp.54-67. ⟨10.1016/j.combustflame.2019.09.017⟩. ⟨hal-02892557⟩
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