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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29922

Title: Numerical Modelling of Sooting Laminar Diffusion Flames at Elevated Pressures and Microgravity
Authors: Charest, Marc Robert Joseph
Advisor: Groth, Clinton P. T.
Gulder, Omer L.
Department: Aerospace Science and Engineering
Keywords: Laminar flames
High pressure
Numerical modelling
Soot formation
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2011
Abstract: Fully understanding soot formation in flames is critical to the development of practical combustion devices, which typically operate at high pressures, and fire suppression systems in space. Flames display significant changes under microgravity and high-pressure conditions as compared to normal-gravity flames at atmospheric pressure, but the exact causes of these changes are not well-characterized. As such, the effects of gravity and pressure on the stability characteristics and sooting behavior of laminar coflow diffusion flames were investigated. To study these effects, a new highly-scalable combustion modelling tool was developed specifically for use on large multi-processor computer architectures. The tool is capable of capturing complex processes such as detailed chemistry, molecular transport, radiation, and soot formation/destruction in laminar diffusion flames. The proposed algorithm represents the current state of the art in combustion modelling, making use of a second-order accurate finite-volume scheme and a parallel adaptive mesh refinement algorithm on body-fitted, multi-block meshes. An acetylene-based, semi-empirical model was used to predict the nucleation, growth, and oxidation of soot particles. Reasonable agreement with experimental measurements for different fuels and pressures was obtained for predictions of flame height, temperature and soot volume fraction. Overall, the algorithm displayed excellent strong scaling performance by achieving a parallel efficiency of 70% on 384 processors. The effects of pressure and gravity were studied for flames of two different fuels: ethylene-air flames between pressures of 0.5–5 atm and methane-air flames between 1–60 atm. Based on the numerical predictions, zero-gravity flames had lower temperatures, broader soot-containing zones, and higher soot concentrations than normal-gravity flames at the same pressure. Buoyant forces caused the normal-gravity flames to narrow with increasing pressure while the increased soot concentrations and radiation at high pressures lengthened the zero-gravity flames. Low-pressure flames at both gravity levels exhibited a similar power-law dependence of the maximum carbon conversion on pressure which weakened as pressure was increased. This dependence decayed at a faster rate in zero gravity when pressure was increased beyond 1–10 atm.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29922
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