Dimensional analysis of flame angles versus wind speed
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): R. E. Martin; M. A. Finney; D. A. Molina; D. B. Sapsis; S. L. Stephens; J. H. Scott; D. R. Weise
Publication Year: 1994

Cataloging Information

  • laboratory fires
  • rate of spread
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
  • wind
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 34852
Tall Timbers Record Number: 9131
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Dimensional analysis has potential to help explain and predict physical phenomena, but has been used very little in studies of wildland fire behavior. By combining variables into dimensionless groups, the number of variables to be handled and the experiments to be run is greatly reduced. A low velocity wind tunnel was constructed and methyl, ethyl, and isopropyl alcohol were used as buoyancy sources. Three diameters of pans, 4, 10, and 15 cm were used and the order of six wind speeds was randomized in three replications. Flame angle was plotted against Byram's dimensionless group gI/pCpTv3 (1959) in this preliminary study. Flames remained almost vertical at low wind speeds, inclined rapidly after critical wind speeds were attained, then inclined only slightly more as wind speeds continued to increase. A critical point in the value of the Byram number appears to be at a value of about 100. © by the Society of American Foresters. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
Martin, R. E., M. A. Finney, D. A. Molina, D. B. Sapsis, S. L. Stephens, J. H. Scott, and D. R. Weise. 1994. Dimensional analysis of flame angles versus wind speed. Proceedings of the Conference on Fire and Forest Meteorology, v. 11, p. 212-217.