ENFP 630: Diffusion Flames and Burning Rate Theory

ENFP 630

Diffusion Flames and Burning Rate Theory

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Course Syllabus: Syllabus
Homework 1 – Due: Thursday, Sep 12th before class begins: HWK1


Course Description: This course will cover combustion fundamentals primarily related to diffusion flames and burning rate theory. We will cover basic principles related to the burning of solid, liquid and gaseous diffusion flames including the Spalding B-number theory, droplet burning and boundary layer combustion. In order to adequately address these topics, we will briefly cover fundamentals of combustion such as thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, premixed diffusion flames, deflagrations/detonations, etc. Towards the end of the course, we will look at more advanced topics such as turbulence, instabilities, flame spread, etc. Students are asked to contribute suggestions on additional material they wish to see covered at the end of the course related to diffusion flames and burning rate theory.

Instructor:                     Prof. Michael J. Gollner, Office: JMP 3104A. Email: mgollner@umd.edu,
Office Phone: 301-405-6667, web: www.gollnerfire.com

Lectures:                       11:00AM – 12:15 PM Tu/Thu in ITV 1111

Office Hours:               To be Announced and by appointment. JMP 3104A

                                          Please come by to discuss and ask questions whenever my door is open.

Prerequisites:             Knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, heat transfer and partial differential equations

Textbook:                     S.R. Turns, An Introduction to Combustion, McGraw Hill, New York. Third or Second edition. Note that page numbers, homework, etc. will be given for the third edition but the content is the same as the second edition. See textbook note below.

Website:                       The new UMD Canvas course system will host homework solutions, the course calendar, etc.       https://umd.instructure.com/

Homework:                  Homework will be assigned approximately every other week and graded by the instructor.

Exams:                            1 Midterm, 1 Final

Projects:                        A presentation and/or short report on a topic will be assigned approximately halfway through the semester. More details will be given as it gets closer.

Course Grade:             Homework                                                                               25%

Project/Presentation                                           10%

Midterm                                                                    30%

Final                                                                             35%

                                                                                Total    100%

Grading Policy:  A weighted average of the homework, the midterm, the project/presentation and the final exam, following the percentages above will be used to determine the final letter grade. I’m very flexible with homework if prior arrangements are made, so late homework will not be accepted without prior arrangements.

Concerns on the grading of exams or homework should be brought up with the instructor in writing within 1-2 weekdays of them being passed back. Either an email or notes written on the exam/homework in question are sufficient.

Letter grades will be assigned with +/- values, so please note the university policy update: http://www.testudo.umd.edu/plusminusimplementation.html

Required Technology: All students should have access to a standard scientific calculator. Graphing calculators will be allowed on quizzes and exams but cannot have any type of communication (e.g. Wi-Fi) or qwerty-type keyboards. Students should regularly check the course website on Canvas.

Expectations for Students: Students are expected to read the textbook chapters in advance of lectures, attend lectures, take notes, do assigned homework on time and actively participate in the course. They are strongly encouraged to come to office hours, ask questions in class, and keep the instructor informed of their progress. Any concerns about the course should be alerted to the instructor in person or by email as soon as possible, including missing an exam, concerns about material covered, and concerns about grading or any comments about the course.

Policy on the Book: Textbooks are very expensive, so if you have an old edition of the textbook you are welcome to use it but are personally responsible to ensure all content from the 3rd edition is covered. I do not have the old editions so although I’m confident the content has not changed significantly I have no way to check this throughout the semester, so please confer with your classmates. It is also necessary to supplement the lectures with material you read in the textbook, however if you show up to all lectures and do all the homework you should be well informed of what material you should be covering in the book.

Supplementary material from other papers, instructor-prepared notes and webpages will be assigned as reading throughout the duration of the course.

Exams: Exams and quizzes will be closed book/closed notes unless otherwise communicated. Formulas and relevant tables/charts will be provided for the exam.

Homework: Homework will be assigned approximately bi-weekly. Notifications will be posted online and announcements made in class. Solutions will be posted after all homework has been collected and graded. Doing problems is a very important part of learning, especially since material covered on the homework will be very similar to material covered on homeworks.

Students are encouraged to work together on homework, however ALL work must be your own. No communication or unauthorized help is allowed on examinations.

Academic Integrity: It is expected that students in the course follow the student-administered “Honor Code and Honor Pledge” (http://www.faculty.umd.edu/teach/integrity.html). In this course, students are welcome and encouraged to work on homework and study together, but must complete all exams and homeworks on their own. No unauthorized help or material is allowed on exams.

Upon completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate thermodynamic/chemical systems
  • Determine the burning rate of different systems
  • Understand the underlying mechanisms affecting a diffusion-flame problem
  • Apply this knowledge to practical problems in industry
  • Use this knowledge to perform graduate research
  • Understand the inner-workings of combustion models within numerical simulations
  • Understand research in the fields of fire and combustion, including relevant texts, journals, topics, etc.


Recommended Resources:


  1. S. R. Turns, An Introduction to Combustion (Course textbook)
  2. I. Glassman, Combustion
  3. F. A. Williams Combustion Theory
  4. A. M. Kanury, An Introduction to Combustion Phenomena
  5. J. G. Quintiere, Fundamentals of Fire Dynamics
  6. K. Kuo, Principles of Combustion
  7. 7.       S.S. Penner, Chemically Reacting Flows
  8. 8.       S. McAllister, A. C. Fernandez-Pello, Introduction to combustion
  9. 9.       C.K. Law, Combustion Physics
  10. 10.   G. Cox, Combustion Fundamentals of Fire




  1. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute
  2. Combustion and Flame
  3. Combustion Science and Technology
  4. Combustion Theory and Modeling
  5. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science (Reviews)


  1. Fire Safety Journal
  2. Proceedings of the IAFSS
  3. Fire Technology

Use of Software: Gaseq a freely available chemical equilibrium program will be used as a supplement to classical problems in combustion




NOTE: This syllabus is subject to change at any time – please listen to announcements in class, by email and on CANVAS!