Fires at high altitude airports have attracted a lot of attention. Such fires show some special characteristics because of the coupling impact of low pressure and low oxygen levels. Some experiments, which were conducted recently at high altitude locations, such as Lhasa and in some low pressure chambers, were usually extinguished due to the limited supply of oxygen.

In order to reveal the dependence of fire behavior on pressure comprehensively, a low-pressure chamber with ventilation control of 2×3×4.65m3 in volume has been developed and built, which can allow larger scale fire tests to be conducted and simulate more realistic high-altitude environment. In this study, pool fire tests using 20-cm and 30-cm-diameter pans are configured under five different static pressures, e.g. 101kPa, 75kPa, 64kPa, 38kPa and 24kPa. Each test has been repeated three times. The parameters measured include flame temperature, radiative heat flux, and mass loss etc. It is concluded that under lower pressure, mass burning rate is lower, temperature is higher, and height of the flame is higher, which demonstrated that low pressure fire is more dangerous to the buildings at high altitude airports.

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