This paper describes work in the first part of an ongoing research programme on the generation and dispersion of fume from ' hot metal processes, a challenging industrial ventilation problem. '"This phase of the study involves research into a salt solution plume generated from an area source and descending into quiescent water. This is a 'cold flow' analogue of a thermal lume ascending in quiescent air. Expenments are described whereby the velocity and concentration profiles in the plume are determined using video footage and particle-tracking software, and a conductivity probe with digital traversing mechanism, respectively. Results from a transient numerical simulation of the flow using the CFD package PHOENICS are generated and compared with experimental results. These are also used to characterise the plume with respect to density and velocity distributions.