Publication Details

Beyond "fire temperatures": calibrating thermocouple probes and modeling their response to surface fires in hardwood fuels

Publication Toolbox

  • Download PDF (1016611)
  • This publication is available only online.

Year Published

2008

Publication

Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38:1008-1020.

Abstract

The maximum temperatures of thermocouples, temperature-sensitive paints, and calorimeters exposed to flames in wildland fires are often called "fire temperatures" but are determined as much by the properties and deployment of the measurement devices as by the fires themselves. Rather than report device temperatures that are not generally comparable among studies, we show that maximum and time-integrated temperatures of relatively thick (4.8 mm diameter) type-K thermocouple probes (TCPs) can be calibrated to estimate fuel consumption and fire line intensity in surface fires. Although reporting standard fire characteristics is an improvement over reporting device temperatures, TCPs are not ideal instruments for monitoring surface fires, because they provide only point estimates of fire behavior and must be calibrated for different fire environments, TCP characteristics, and deployments. To illustrate how TCPs respond to fires and to point the way towards a more general calibration method, we report results from a numerical model that accurately simulated TCP response to a spreading surface fire.

Citation

Bova, Anthony S.; Dickinson, Matthew B. 2008. Beyond "fire temperatures": calibrating thermocouple probes and modeling their response to surface fires in hardwood fuels. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38:1008-1020.

Last updated on: August 15, 2008