Cyclic flame propagation in premixed combustion
In experiments of hot surface ignition and subsequent flame propagation, a puffing flame instability is observed in mixtures that are stagnant and premixed prior to ignition. By varying the size of the hot surface, power input, and combustion vessel volume, it was determined that the instability is a function of the interaction of the flame, with the fluid flow induced by the combustion products rather than the initial plume established by the hot surface. Pressure ranges from 25 to 100 kPa and mixtures of n-hexane/air with equivalence ratios between ϕ = 0:58 and 3.0 at room temperature were investigated. Equivalence ratios between ϕ = 2:15 and 2.5 exhibited multiple flame and equivalence ratios above ϕ = 2:5 resulted in puffing flames at atmospheric pressure. The phenomenon is accurately reproduced in numerical simulations and a detailed flow field analysis revealed competition between the inflow velocity at the base of the flame and the flame propagation speed. The increasing inflow velocity, which exceeds the flame propagation speed, is ultimately responsible for creating a puff. The puff is then accelerated upward, allowing for the creation of the subsequent instabilities. The frequency of the puff is proportional to the gravitational acceleration and inversely proportional to the flame speed. A scaling relationship describes the dependence of the frequency on gravitational acceleration, hot surface diameter, and flame speed. This relation shows good agreement for rich n-hexane/air and lean hydrogen/air flames, as well as lean hexane/hydrogen/air mixtures.
©2013 Cambridge University Press Received October 30 2012; revised August 16 2013; accepted September 13 2013; online publication October 23 2013. The authors gratefully acknowledge funding for this research by the Boeing Company through Strategic Research and Development Relationship Agreement CTBA-GTA-1.
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