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Published April 2019 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Experimental and numerical study of the ignition of hydrogen-air mixtures by a localized stationary hot surface


The ignition of hydrogen-air mixtures by a stationary hot glow plug has been experimentally investigated using two-color pyrometry and interferometry. The ignition process was characterized by the surface temperature at ignition, as well as by the location where the initial flame kernel was formed. The experimental results indicate that: (i) the ignition temperature threshold is a function of equivalence ratio; (ii) the ignition location is a function of the rate at which the glow plug is heated because high heating rates favor non-uniform heating. As a result, ignition occurs on the side rather than near the top face of the glow plug. Comparison with two-dimensional numerical simulations exhibits discrepancies in terms of the temperature threshold value and dependence on equivalence ratio. Simulations performed imposing a non-uniform surface temperature show that a temperature difference between the side and the top of the glow plug as low as 12.5 to 25 K resulted in side ignition for hydrogen-air mixtures. The effect of surface chemistry was estimated numerically by imposing a boundary condition of zero species concentration for intermediate species, H and HO_2, at the hot surface, which increased the ignition threshold by up to 50 K for an initial H_2 concentration of 70%. The present study shows that surface temperature non-uniformity, heterogeneous chemistry and reaction model used, could influence the experimentally reported and numerically predicted ignition threshold as well as the location of ignition.

Additional Information

© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Received 1 September 2018, Revised 10 February 2019, Accepted 10 February 2019, Available online 21 February 2019. The present work was carried out in the Explosion Dynamics Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology and was supported by The Boeing Company through a Strategic Research and Development Relationship Agreement CT-BA-GTA-1. In addition, RM was supported by the 1000 Young Talent of China program and a start-up fund of the Center for Combustion Energy of Tsinghua University. LRB designed and characterized the two-color pyrometer, performed the experiments, and wrote the experimental content of the paper. JM-G implemented the numerical framework, performed the simulations and associated analyses, and wrote the numerical modeling content of the paper. RM led the compilation of the paper, performed the chemical kinetics calculations and analyses, and wrote the introduction, discussion, conclusion and appendix material. JES is the principal investigator of the project. The authors are grateful to Dr S. Coronel, A. Kink, Y. Kishita, M. Meijers, A. Nové-Josserand, and G. Smetana for their help with the experiments and useful discussions.

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