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Title: Simulating the expansion process of intumescent coating fire protection
Author: Cirpici, Burak Kaan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 9077
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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The expansion ratio (defined as the ratio of the expanded thickness to the original thickness) of intumescent coatings is the most important quantity that determines their fire protection performance. This thesis explores two possible methods of predicting intumescent coating expansion: an analytical method, and a detailed numerical simulation method using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH).The analytical method is based on a cell-model and predicts bubble growth due to pressure increase in viscous liquid with constant viscosity. It has been extended to non-uniform temperature field and temperature-dependent viscosity of intumescent melt. Accuracy of this extended analytical method is assessed by comparison against the cone calorimeter and furnace fire tests on intumescent coating protected steel plates with different intumescent coating thicknesses, steel plate thicknesses, and heating conditions. The extended analytical method is then used to investigate how intumescent coating expansion and intumescent coating effective thermal conductivity are affected by changing the coating thickness, the steel thickness and the fire condition (including smouldering fire). The main conclusion is that the expansion ratio decreases as the rate of heating increases. Therefore, the intumescent coating properties obtained from the Standard fire exposure may be safely used for slower realistic fires, but would produce unsafe results for faster fires. The second method explores the potential of a meshless numerical simulation: Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH). SPH modelling of intumescent coating expansion has been implemented using the SPHysics FORTRAN open-source code as a platform. To check the validity of this modelling method, the modelling results are compared against theoretical solutions for surface tension (Young-Laplace theorem), and available numerical and analytical solutions for bubble expansion. A new algorithm for representing the mass transfer of gas into the bubble using SPH particle insertion and particle shifting scheme is presented to simulate the bubble expansion process. Close agreement with an analytical solution for the initial bubble expansion rate computed by SPH is obtained. Whilst this research has demonstrated the potential of using SPH to numerically simulate intumescent coating expansion, it has also revealed significant challenges that should be overcome to make SPH a feasible method to simulate intumescent coating expansion. The main challenges include:• Simulating gas-polymer flows when expansion is occurring where there are vastly different properties of these two fluids with a density ratio of about 1000. This high density ratio may easily cause numerical pressure noise, especially at the liquid-gas interface.• Extremely high computational cost necessary to achieve sufficient accuracy by using a large number of particles (higher resolution), especially for the multi-phase SPH program, and very small time step for the lighter fluid (air). • The behaviour of intumescent coatings involves expansion ratios on the order of 10-100 with thousands of bubbles which grow, merge and burst. Based on the results of this exploratory research, future improvements are outlined to further develop the SPH simulation method.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Ministry of National Education of Turkish Government
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: intumescent coating ; high temperature materials ; fire protection ; computer modelling ; smoothed particle hydrodynamics