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DNS of inhomogeneous reactants premixed combustion

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Lim, Kian Min 


The search for clean and efficient combustors is motivated by the increasingly stringent emissions regulations. New gas turbine engines are designed to operate under lean conditions with inhomogeneous reactants to ensure cleanliness and stability of the combustion. This ushers in a new mode of combustion, called the inhomogeneous reactants premixed combustion.

The present study investigates the effects of inhomogeneous reactants on premixed combustion, specifically on the interactions of an initially planar flame with field of inhomogeneous reactants. Unsteady and unstrained laminar methane-air flames are studied in one- and two-dimensional simulations to investigate the effects of normally and tangentially (to the flame surface) stratified reactants. A three-dimensional DNS of turbulent inhomogeneous reactants premixed combustion is performed to extend the investigation into turbulent flames. The methaneair combustion is represented by a complex chemical reaction mechanism with 18 species and 68 steps.

The flame surface density (FSD) and displacement speed S_d have been used as the framework to analyse the inhomogeneous reactants premixed flame. The flames are characterised by an isosurface of reaction progress variable. The unsteady flames are compared to the steady laminar unstrained reference case. An equivalence ratio dip is observed in all simulations and it can serve as a marker for the premixed flame. The dip is attributed to the preferential diffusion of carbon- and hydrogen- containing species.

Hysteresis of S_d is observed in the unsteady and unstrained laminar flames that propagate into normally stratified reactants. Stoichiometric flames propagating into lean mixture have a larger S_d than lean flames propagating into stoichiometric mixtures. The cross-dissipation term contribution to S_d is small (~~10%) but its contribution to the hysteresis of S_d is not (~~50%).

Differential propagation of the flame surface is observed in the laminar flame that propagates into tangentially stratified reactants. Stretch on the flame surface is induced by the differential propagation, which in turn increases the flame surface area.


The mathematical symbols in Abstract field above do not display correctly. Please view the attached document 'Kian Min Lim Thesis Abstract.pdf' for the correct abstract




Inhomogeneous reactants premixed combustion, Premixed combustion, Direct numerical simulation (DNS), Progress variable, Flame surface density (FSD), Displacement speed


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge