Particle image velocimetry applied to non-reacting and reacting flows within cylindrical combustion chambers
Particle Image Velocimetry (PlY) is a technique for measuring instantaneous twodimensional fluid velocity fields from a chosen plane of interest within a flow field. This thesis presents new developments and applications of the technique which have been used to study both the non-reacting and reacting flow fields within cylindrical combustion chambers. Non-reacting, swirling laminar flow fields near the transitional flow regime have been investigated by both Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling and PIV experiments. Direct comparisons between CFD, PlY and other published results are made and close agreements are found. Additionally, the PlY technique has been optimised by careful use of a thin laser illumination sheet and correct choice of laser pulse separation. This has enabled successful PlY measurements in the boundary layers of the flow field where high velocity gradients exist. The PlY technique has been applied to measure the flame development and propagation process within the chamber under both quiescent and swirling flow conditions. Representative sequences of PIV results at different flame propagation stages are obtained and the accuracy in the extraction of the flame location is discussed. They clearly reveal the instantaneous flame front position and the unburned gas velocity field simultaneously. These features provide further insight into the combustion process itself and also the interaction between the combustion and flow field. A new application of PIV, combined with a flame speed detection technique, has been proposed and developed to obtain direct measurements of the laminar burning velocity of combustible mixtures. The laminar burning velocity is determined as the difference between the flame speed and the unburned gas velocity immediately ahead of the flame front. PIV is used to measure the unburned gas velocity field and either a pair of ionisation probes or a laser beam refraction technique is used to measure the local flame speed simultaneously. The relative merits of each technique are compared. The laminar burning velocities of propane-air mixtures initially at atmospheric conditions for equivalence ratios ranging from 0.7 - 1.4 were measured. The measured values show close agreement with previously published results based on other techniques. The advantages and limitations of the PIV techniques used in this work are examined and the prospects of their improvement and further application are discussed.