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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Pyrolysis and Combustion Material Properties of Naturally Heterogeneous Fuel Beds of Southern Pine Forests

Photo of Flaming with special sample holder with thermocouples in the cone calorimeter testFlaming with special sample holder with thermocouples in the cone calorimeter testSnapshot : Detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for fire behavior of various live and dead foliage can benefit from the Forest Products Laboratory's detailed fundamental measurements for composition, thermal, moisture, pyrolysis, and combustion properties that are quite different than that of wood.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Weise, David R.Dietenberger, Mark A.
Research Location : USDA Forest Products Laboratory
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2018
Highlight ID : 1449


This research is part of a large consortium of researchers to develop fundamental measurements and modeling of prescribed fire behavior. Specialized equipment and methods were developed to determine live moisture content, heat capacity, heat of evaporation, surface emissivity, thermal and moisture diffusivities, leaf structural and elemental compositions, pyrolysis kinetics, and heat of combustion of pyrolyzable components, varying with moisture content and temperature as appropriate. The computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models will be able to use these properties to help predict flammabilities of live and dead foliage in the special Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) cone calorimetry test methods for moisture evaporation, time to ignition, peak heat release rate, fire intensity, fuel consumed, and emissions from flaming and glowing combustions. Because of the detailed properties determined, the CFD models can incorporate some new physical processes that should differentiate the varying flammabilities of the dozen species tested at FPL and by the consortium in the larger pyrolyzer, wind tunnels, and in the field for which the focus was on vegetative pyrolysis behavior that undergirds the fire behavior.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • David Weise
  • Roger Ottmar
  • Ruddy Mell
  • and several others
  • Babak Shotorban
  • Thomas H. Fletcher
  • and several others