Researchers realize potential application of blue flame that comes without ash

Researchers realize potential application of blue flame that comes without ash

Have you ever imagined having flames without ash? So start imagining. We all have seen yellow flames, but not all must have seen blue flames. Blue flames are different from the ordinary flames. They are perceived as destructive, but a good thing about them is that they do not discharge soot, thus, they are clean. Some researchers have produced these flames through experiments in labs.

By producing blue flames, the researchers are trying to harness these powerful flames that burn fuel with much efficiency and to perfect them even more. Such a flame could offer more environmental friendly ways to burn certain kind of waste. The blue flame is almost without soot, which results when there is less amount of oxygen for burning something.

This in other words means that when a blue flame burns fuel there is enough oxygen to support complete combustion that in turn releases less soot and lower carbon. In the lab experiment, researchers could keep the blue flame burning for eight minutes as they provided more fuel to the flame as it burns. The experiment helped researchers get more insight into fluid mechanics. However, if scientists could increase the level of flames and experiment with it outside the lab, they could come across a method to clean oil spills.

"A fire tornado has long been seen as this incredibly scary, destructive thing. But, like electricity, can you harness it for good? If we can understand it, then maybe we can control and use it. This is the first time fire whirls have been studied for their practical applications,” said fire protection engineer and co-author of the paper Michael Gollner, from the University of Maryland.

A report published in AOL informed, "Fire whirls are often vertical funnels of flames that whip up potentially dangerous, debris-carrying winds. They also tend to be yellow in color because a lack of oxygen causes incomplete burning and the creation of soot."

According to a press release issued by the university, "The Clark School team initially set out to investigate the combustion and burning dynamics of fire whirls on water."

While additional research is needed to determine the applications of this discovery, it could potentially decrease the number of pollutants released into the environment during the cleanup of oil disasters, reports Gizmodo.

According to a report in CS Monitor by Nicole Orttung, "Powerfully spinning "fire whirls" burn through their surroundings incredibly efficiently. Now researchers have discovered a lab version they're working to control and make even more efficient. For the first time, scientists have created a “blue whirl” flame that burns cleaner than its traditional yellow counterpart and could potentially be used for more eco-friendly oil spill cleanup."

The blue whirl burns nearly soot-free. It evolves from the yellow fire whirl, whose color comes from glowing soot particles that indicate that there’s not enough oxygen to burn up all the available fuel. In contrast, the blue flame results when there is enough oxygen to burn fuel completely.

“A fire whirl is usually turbulent, but this blue whirl is very quiet and stable without visible or audible signs of turbulence,” said Huahua Xiao, assistant research scientist in the Clark School's Department of Aerospace Engineering and corresponding author of the paper, in a statement. “It’s really a very exciting discovery that offers important possibilities both within and outside of the research lab.”


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