Flame-flow interaction during premixed and stratified swirl flame flashback in an annular swirl combustor




Ranjan, Rakesh

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The interaction between a propagating flame and the approach flow is critical to the understanding of boundary layer flashback of swirling flames. In this work, I investigated this interaction during flashback using high-speed luminosity imaging and simultaneous three-dimensional particle image velocimetry. The mean axial velocity through the mixing tube is kept at 2.5 m/s while the hydrogen enrichment of the fuel is varied up to 87%. These flashback experiments are conducted at pressures ranging from 1 to 5 atm. To understand the flame-flow interaction physics, I developed a novel analysis methodology for low-turbulence fully-premixed methane-air swirl flame flashback, by stacking the planar flame profiles and three-dimensional velocity data. In the quasi-reconstructed velocity field, the motion of an approaching fluid parcel is analyzed in the frame-of-reference of the propagating flame. For the first time, the role of inertial forces in swirling flame-flow interaction is revealed. Subsequently, I investigated the effect of fuel-air partial premixing on the flashback behavior at atmospheric and elevated pressures. A swirler-based fuel-injection system was used to create fuel-air stratification in the radial direction. For elevated pressure measurements, an optically accessible elevated pressure chamber was designed and constructed to conduct flashback experiments up to 5 atm. The spatial distribution of the equivalence ratio under non-reacting conditions was investigated using planar laser-induced fluorescence with acetone as the fuel tracer. It was observed that fuel-air pockets were distributed across the mixing tube width, although in an average sense, the fuel-air mixture was radially stratified. The global behavior of upstream flame propagation is reported for different levels of hydrogen-enrichment. For stratified hydrogen-rich flashback, the propagation path of the flame changes from the inner wall to outer wall induced by the faster chemistry of stoichiometric mixtures that are frequently present near the outer wall. This behavior of hydrogen-rich flashback persists even at elevated pressures up to 5 atm, although the propagation of the flame occurs as a wide flame tongue as opposed to the acute-tipped flame structures present in the atmospheric cases.


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