In this paper, a method for the experimental characterization of the equivalent pore diameter of highly porous open structures is presented. The commonly used characterization of such structures through geometrical properties like ppi number (porous per inch) and porosity proves to be not sufficient for the characterization of length scales related to heat and mass transfer. The procedure used here utilizes the quenching limits for flame propagation as characterization criterion. The determined equivalent pore diameter corresponds to the quenching diameter for a tube-geometry filled with the same combustible mixture. The quenching limit was determined by adjusting critical conditions, which are defined by a constant critical Pe´clet number comprising the laminar flame velocity instead of the flow velocity. Variations of oxygen content and air ratio were used in order to change the laminar flame speed and find the quenching limit for a given porous medium. The equivalent pore diameter determined with this method is a characteristic length scale of the porous medium geometry and is related to the heat transfer between the gas phase and the solid porous structure. The validation of the method was performed on sphere packings with well-documented properties. Several practically relevant highly porous media like foams and fabric lamellae structures were characterized and the results are discussed. Based on the effective heat conductivity (EHC) models of Zehner, Bauer and Schlu¨nder [1–3] for packed beds, an adapted model for foam structures was developed. The adapted model utilizes the equivalent pore diameters determined in the paper and predictions are presented.

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