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Abstract

Two major accidents in the 80's: the summit Tunnel Fire, England and Piper Alpha disaster, an offshore platform in the North Sea; and very recently, possible explosion of the Boeing, TWA flight 800 at New York, makes it imperative that further research into the mechonisms of the ignition of flammable vapor/air mixture in contact with hot surfaces needs to be done. There have been a number of studies of ignition by hot surfaces, but in all these studies the ignition sources were wire, sphere or strip, i.e., most of them were flat surfaces. But to the authors' knowledge, other variables which affect the ignition mechanism such as irregular geometrical shapes have not been studied. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the degree of confinement (or, configuration), size and orientation, of the heated surface affects the ignition temperature of the flammable vapors. The results were obtained by experimentnal and by computational fluid dynamics.