Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Lean premixed combustion is widely used to achieve a better compromise between nitric oxides emissions and combustion efficiency. However, combustor operation near the lean blowout limit can render the flame unstable and lead to oscillations, flashback, or extinction, thereby limiting the potential range of lean combustion. Recent interest in integrated gasification combined cycle plants and syngas combustion requires an improved understanding of the role of hydrogen on the combustion process. Therefore, in present study, combustion of pure methane and blended methane-hydrogen has been conducted in a swirl stabilized premixed combustor. The measurement techniques implemented mainly include particle image velocimetry, CH*/OH* chemiluminescence imaging, planar laser-induced fluorescence imaging of OH radical. By investigating the flow field, heat release, flow-flame interaction, and flame structure properties, the fundamental controlling processes that limit lean and hydrogen-enriched premixed combustion with and without confinement have been analyzed and discussed. As equivalence ratio decreases, for unconfined flames, the reduced flame speed leads flame shrinking toward internal recirculation zone (IRZ) and getting more interacted with inner shear layer, where turbulence level and vorticity are higher. The flame fronts therefore experience higher hydrodynamic stretch rate, resulting in local extinction, and breaks along the flame fronts. Those breaks, in turn, entrain the unburnt fuel air mixture into IRZ passing through the shear layer with the local vortex effect, further leading to reaction within IRZ. In methane-only flames, the width of IRZ decreases, causing flames to straddle the boundary of the IRZ and to be unstable. High speed imaging shows that periodic flame rotating with local extinction and re-light events are evident, resulting in high RMS of heat release rate, and therefore a shorter extinction time scale. With hydrogen addition, flames remain in relatively axisymmetric burning structure and stable with the aid of low minimum ignition energy and high molecular diffusivity associated with hydrogen, leading to lower heat release fluctuation and a longer extinction time scale. For confined flames, however, the hydrogen effect on the extinction transient is completely opposite due to spiraling columnar burning structure, in comparison of a relatively stable conical shape in methane flames.



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Committee Chair

Acharya, Sumanta

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