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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 16 (2011) pp 279-280

Measuring Deflagration Velocity in Oxy-Acetylene with High-Speed Video

Michael A. Armacost, Ayesha Pladera, and Michael Courtney*

U.S. Air Force Academy, 2354 Fairchild Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840,
Received July 12, 2011. Accepted September 19, 2011.

Published: 7 October 2011

Abstract. This experiment determines the deflagration velocity in an approximately stoichiometric mixture of oxygen and acetylene by employing a high speed video camera operating at 20,000 frames per second. The oxy-acetylene mixture was confined in a thin mylar bag of cylindrical shape 25 mm in diameter and approximately 1.5 m long and ignited with an electric match at one end. The average velocity of the deflagration front was determined by the transit time measured between two points of known separation. The average combustion wave velocity of oxy-acetylene was 179 m/s at an ambient temperature of 15 degrees C and an ambient pressure of 83 kPa. Since this velocity is subsonic, the reaction is a deflagration rather than a detonation.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; physical chemistry; oxy-acetylene; detonation; deflagration; velocity; high-speed video

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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