The IRSN is conducting fire testing to characterize the combustion of homogeneous plastics (PVC, polyethylene, etc.) and heterogeneous plastics (mixtures of these), and to qualify the soot metrology experimental techniques.
In order to adjust the experimental protocol, HTP (hydrogenated tetrapropylene, C12H26) fires are set in a 5-cm deep metal tank. During combustion, as the tank temperature rises, bubbles appear on the surface of the liquid, and then drops are projected toward the exterior. These burning drops create the very characteristic filaments seen around the tank.
This photograph won a prize at the last three-yearly symposium of the IAFSS (International Association for Fire Safety Science) in September 2008.
For more information about the symposium:
three-yearly symposium of the AFSS - Karlsruhe, Sept. 2008