Effect of electric fields on the ion current signals in a constant volume combustion chamber

Guangyu Dong, Haifeng Lu, Zhijun Wu, Robert W. Dibble, Liguang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Ion current sensing has the potential to become a promising combustion diagnostic technique for mass productive engines. In this paper, the effect of electric fields on ion current signals measured from a series of methane/air flames in a constant volume combustion chamber (CVCC) is investigated both experimentally and numerically. Based on simultaneous flame Schlieren imaging and ion current measurement, the relation between the flame/electrodes contact area and the ion current signal waveform is explored under different electric field configurations. A CFD model, which incorporates flame plasma hydrodynamics, neutral/charged species reaction kinetics and ion-electric field interactions, is constructed. The effect of the electric field on the ion distribution and the charged species flux are analyzed, and the signal amplitude and timing are well predicted under the equivalence ratio range of & = 0.7-1.1. Besides, the behavior of electrons, which is normally neglected in previous studies, is also analyzed in this work. The results show that it will affect the signal as well. The electron produced in the flame front zone can hardly diffuse into the pre-flame zone (< 350 K) even its mobility is 3-4 order higher than those of the positive ions. Therefore, the anode of the ion probe, which placed in the pre-flame zone, cannot detect the ion current signal until it contacts the flame front.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4865-4873
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 4 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by National Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51761135105, 51376139, 51006075 and 91441125), Shanghai Pu Jiang talent program (18PJ1410000) and KSPG Professorship Fund.


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