Effects of thermal expansion on moderately intense turbulence in premixed flames

V. A. Sabelnikov, A. N. Lipatnikov, Nikolay Nikitin, Francisco Hernandez Perez, Hong G. Im

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4 Scopus citations


The study aims at analytically and numerically exploring the influence of combustion-induced thermal expansion on turbulence in premixed flames. In the theoretical part, contributions of solenoidal and potential velocity fluctuations to the unclosed component of the advection term in the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations are compared and a new criterion for assessing the importance of the thermal expansion effects is introduced. The criterion highlights a ratio of the dilatation in the laminar flame to the large-scale gradient of root-mean-square (rms) velocity in the turbulent flame brush. To support the theoretical study, direct numerical simulation (DNS) data obtained earlier from two complex-chemistry, lean H2-air flames are analyzed. In line with the new criterion, even at sufficiently high Karlovitz numbers, results show significant influence of combustion-induced potential velocity fluctuations on the second moments of the turbulent velocity upstream of and within the flame brush. In particular, the DNS data demonstrate that (i) potential and solenoidal rms velocities are comparable in the unburnt gas close to the leading edge of the flame brush and (ii) potential and solenoidal rms velocities conditioned to unburnt gas are comparable within the entire flame brush. Moreover, combustion-induced thermal expansion affects not only the potential velocity, but even the solenoidal one. The latter effects manifest themselves in a negative correlation between solenoidal velocity fluctuations and dilatation or in the counter-gradient behavior of the solenoidal scalar flux. Finally, a turbulence-in-premixed-flame diagram is sketched to discuss the influence of combustion-induced thermal expansion on various ranges of turbulence spectrum.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysics of Fluids
StatePublished - Oct 21 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-10-25
Acknowledgements: V.A.S. gratefully acknowledges support provided by ONERA and by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (Grant agreement of December 8, 2020 No. 075-11-2020-023) within the program for the creation and development of the World-Class Research Center “Supersonic” for 2020-2025. A.N.L. gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by CERC and Chalmers Area of Advance “Transport”. F.E.H.P. and H.G.I. were sponsored by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Computational resources for the DNS calculations were provided by the KAUST Supercomputing Laboratory.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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