Firebrands are an important mechanism of fire spread and one of the primary ways in which wildland fires ignite structures. Inverse heat transfer using thin steel plates has been shown to be an effective method for measuring heat transfer distributions from firebrands. To fully understand the dynamic process of heat transfer from firebrands to surfaces; however, it is necessary to view the underside of the firebrands, which is not possible through a steel plate.

This work develops a method of inverse heat transfer using a visually transparent quartz plate and a long-wave (7.5–14.0 μm) infrared camera to facilitate visual access to the firebrands from all angles. The heat flux measurements using a quartz plate were compared with heat flux measurements using a steel plate and finite element heat transfer simulations for radiation-dominant tests using heater panels. Additionally, heat transfer measurements using cuboidal oak firebrands were conducted using both the quartz and steel plates. A corrective factor was developed based on the ratio of the effective emissivity of the quartz and stainless-steel plates at typical firebrand temperatures. The measured heat fluxes were within 1–6% after correcting for radiant energy transmitted through the quartz which was absorbed by the stainless-steel plate.

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