It has been long known that fire, being a source of energy, has given man the powder to do many things. Its usefulness ranges from providing visual sights to man during the prehistoric period to the abilities of speeding up processes such as melting metal structures Useful as it might be, it can also cause mass destruction to the things that we possess such as properties, belongings and even human lives.
For these reasons, it is important that in-depth studies on fire and combustion process should not be ignored. Especially when there are very few researches conducted in reduced gravity.
This is partially due to the earth’s natural convection and buoyancy that have camouflaged another side of the flame’s reaction for centuries until the discovery of microgravity during the last four decades.
This area of research is useful for the safety aspect of astronauts. The reactions of flame structure and its combustion process on common materials must be understood to improve fire safety facilities on board space shuttle and space station.
This thesis presents the investigation on the reaction of combustion process and flame structure in both normal and reduced gravity environment. The results collected in both environments showed that they correlate well with existing theories by other researchers. These researchers hoped that through these results, materials and fire preventative methods used in normal gravity could also be used in microgravity environment.
The experiment conducted in reduced gravity, revealed that the combustion process is substantially slower in burning the materials and is steadier in regions where it is unstable in normal gravity. It has also revealed that the flame structure during the combustion process produce a dim blue glow compared to the bright yellow flame in normal gravity.
This result is relatively similar to the candle flame structure in reduced gravity. In this experiment, the flame burns less vigorously compared to the normal gravity flame. It assumes a spherical shape that diffuses equally in all directions rather than the more elongated shape that is a characteristic of flames in normal gravity.
Through these experiments, invaluable experience has been provided in this area of investigation. Since then, it has already spawned ideas for future works to be done for the production of better quality pictures so that clearer analysis into the combustion process and other related areas of this great phenomena could be uncovered. With these data, the likelihood of fire endangering the safety of astronauts and the destruction of equipments in space would be less possible.