August 23, 2018
Could you really fight fire with fire? This age-old adage has been touted for years, but when taken literally does it have any scientific merit? Simulation will solve this burning question.
Simulation shows how an explosion (blue) emanating from a steel chamber can snuff out a flame (red).
In theory, a shock wave traveling through the air could suppress a flame by blowing it away from flammable materials.
Dr. Graham Doig, from the University of New South Wales, proved this theory in a series of experiments captured on video:
Ansys Autodyn simulations can explain the results of this experiment numerically. The first step is to build a model using the Explicit Dynamics system from Ansys Workbench and Autodyn’s multi-material Euler solver.
The simulation demonstrates how a fire can be snuffed out by an explosive shockwave emanating from a steel chamber. The chamber aims the shockwave toward the flame by reflecting the wave off its surface and semi-spherical end.
As predicted, the shock wave blows the flame away from the burning materials and suppresses the fire, as shown in this animation:
Animation shows how the shockwave pushes the flame away from its fuel.
So, it appears you can fight fire with fire. But, stick to an extinguisher — unless you want to burn off those eyebrows.
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