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Title: Turbulent partially premixed combustion : DNS analysis and RANS simulation
Author: Ruan, S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 6756
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2013
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Increasingly stringent regulation of pollutant emission has motivated the search for cleaner and more efficient combustion devices, which remain the primary means of power generation and propulsion for all kinds of transport. Fuel-lean premixed combustion technology has been identified to be a promising approach, despite many difficulties involve, notably issues concerning flame stability and ignitability. A partially premixed system has been introduced to remedy these problems, however, our understanding on this combustion mode needs to be greatly improved to realise its full potential. This thesis aims to further the understanding of various fundamental physical processes in turbulent partially premixed flames. DNS data of a laboratory-scale hydrogen turbulent jet lifted flame is analysed in this study. The partially premixed nature of this flame is established by examining the instantaneous and averaged reaction rates and the "Flame Index", which indicate premixed and diffusion burning modes coexisting. The behaviour of turbulent flame stretch and its relation to other physical processes, in particular the scalar-turbulence interaction, the effects of partial premixing on the displacement speed of iso-scalar surface and its correlation with the surface curvature are explored using DNS data. The scalar gradient alignment characteristics change from aligning with the most compressive strain to aligning with the most extensive one in regions of intensive heat release. This alignment change creates negative normal strain rate which can result in negative surface averaged tangential strain rate. The partial premixing affects the flame surface displacement speed through the mixture fraction dissipation rate and a second derivative in the mixture fraction space. The correlation of curvature and displacement speed is found to be negative in general and the effects of partial premixing act to reduce this negative correlation. The combined effects of the normal strain rate and the displacement speed/curvature correlation contribute to the negative mean flame stretch observed in the flame brush. Scalar dissipation rates (SDR) of the mixture fraction ẼZZ, progress variable Ẽcc and their cross dissipation rates (CDR) ẼcZ are identified as important quantities in the modelling of partially premixed flames. Their behaviours in the lifted flame stabilisation region are examined in a unified framework. It is found that SDR of mixture fraction is well below the quenching value in this region while SDR of progress variable is smaller than that in laminar flames. The CDR changes from weakly positive to negative at the flame leading edge due to the change in scalar gradient alignment characteristics. Axial and radial variation of these quantities are analysed and it is found that Ẽcc is an order of magnitude bigger than ẼZZ. ẼcZ is two orders of magnitude smaller than Ẽcc and it can be either positive or negative depending on local flow and flame conditions. Simple algebraic models show reasonable agreement compared to DNS when a suitable definition of c is used. Further statistics of the scalar gradients are presented and a presumed lognormal distribution is found to give reasonable results for their marginal PDFs and a bivariate lognormal distribution is a good approximation for their joint PDF. Four mean reaction rate closures based on presumed PDF and flamelets are assessed a priori using DNS data. The turbulent flame front structure is first compared with unstrained and strained laminar premixed and dif fusion flamelets. It is found that unstrained premixed flamelets give overall reasonable approximation in most parts of this flame. A joint PDF model which includes the correlation between mixture fraction and progress variable using a "copula" method shows excellent agreement with DNS results while their statistical independence does not hold in the burning regions of this partially premixed flame. The unstrained premixed flamelet with the correlated joint PDF method is identified to be the most appropriate model for the lifted jet flame calculation. This model is then used in the RANS simulation of turbulent jet lifted flames. A new model to include the contribution from diffusion burning and the effects of partial premixing due to SDR of mixture fraction is also identified and included in the calculation. These models are implemented in a commercial CFD code "Fluent" with user defined scalars and functions. It is found that both the correlated joint PDF model and the model accounting for the diffusive burning in partial premixing are important in order to accurately predict flame lift-off height compared to the experiments.
Supervisor: Swaminathan, N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral