2004-S2-Q1-Solution - CHE3109 Examination(November 2004...

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CHE3109 Examination (November 2004) Solution to Process Safety Question Solution to Question 1: a) Whether a mixture will propagate a flame or not depends on the heat released per unit volume of the mixture when fuel combustion reaction occurs. The reason for this is as follows: An element of fuel-air mixture behaves like a reactor in which an exothermic reaction is ongoing. If the heat generated or released by the reaction in this reactor is greater than the rate of heat loss, then the temperature will rapidly rise and the reaction will “runaway” – i.e. flame propagation will occur (see Figure below). If not, then the temperature will reduce and a stable condition will result. For dilute fuel mixtures in air, the physical properties of the mixture, which determine the heat transfer away from the fuel-air element, are quite independent of the fuel and so, at the lower flammability limit, the required heat release per unit volume of mixture is approximately the same across a range of fuels.
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