Experiment and Simulation of Autoignition in Jet Flames and its Relevance to Flame Stabilization and Structure

  • Saeed M. Al-Noman

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Autoignition characteristics of pre-vaporized iso-octane, primary reference fuels, gasolines, and dimethyl ether (DME) have been investigated experimentally in a coflow with elevated temperature of air. With the coflow air at relatively low initial temperatures below autoignition temperature Tauto, an external ignition source was required to stabilize the flame. Non-autoignited lifted flames had tribrachial edge structures and their liftoff heights correlated well with the jet velocity scaled by the stoichiometric laminar burning velocity, indicating the importance of the edge propagation speed on flame stabilization balanced with local flow velocity. At high initial temperatures over Tauto, the autoignited flames were stabilized without requiring an external ignition source. The autoignited lifted flames exhibited either tribrachial edge structures or Mild combustion behaviors depending on the level of fuel dilution. For the iso-octane and n-heptane fuels, two distinct transition behaviors were observed in the autoignition regime from a nozzle-attached flame to a lifted tribrachial-edge flame and then a sudden transition to lifted Mild combustion as the jet velocity increased at a certain fuel dilution level. The liftoff data of the autoignited flames with tribrachial edges were analyzed based on calculated ignition delay times for the pre-vaporized fuels. Analysis of the experimental data suggested that ignition delay time may be much less sensitive to initial temperature under atmospheric pressure conditions as compared with predictions. For the gasoline fuels for advanced combustion engines (FACEs), and primary reference fuels (PRFs), autoignited liftoff data were correlated with Research Octane Number and Cetane Number. For the DME fuel, planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) of formaldehyde (CH2O) and CH* chemiluminescence were visualized qualitatively. In the autoignition regime for both tribrachial structure and mild combustion, formaldehyde were found mainly between the fuel nozzle and the lifted flame edge. On the other hand, they were formed just prior to the flame edge for the non-autoignited lifted flames. The effect of fuel pyrolysis and partial oxidation were found to be important in explaining autoignited liftoff heights, especially in the Mild combustion regime. Flame structures of autoignited flames were investigated numerically for syngas (CO/H2) and methane fuels. The simulations of syngas fuel accounting for the differential diffusion have been performed by adopting several kinetic mechanisms to test the models ability in predicting the flame behaviors observed previously. The results agreed well with the observed nozzle-attached flame characteristics in case of non-autoignited flames. For autoignited lifted flames in high temperature regime, a unique autoignition behavior can be predicted having HO2 and H2O2 radicals in a broad region between the nozzle and stabilized lifted flame edge. Autoignition characteristics of laminar nonpremixed methane jet flames in high- temperature coflow air were studied numerically. Several flame configurations were investigated by varying the initial temperature and fuel mole fraction. Characteristics of chemical kinetics structures for autoignited lifted flames were discussed based on the kinetic structures of homogeneous autoignition and flame propagation of premixed mixtures. Results showed that for autoignited lifted flame with tribrachial structure, a transition from autoignition to flame propagation modes occurs for reasonably stoichiometric mixtures. Characteristics of Mild combustion can be treated as an autoignited lean premixed lifted flame. Transition behavior from Mild combustion to a nozzle-attached flame was also investigated by increasing the fuel mole fraction.
Date of AwardJun 2016
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorSuk Ho Chung (Supervisor)


  • Autoignition
  • Flame stabilization
  • Lift off height
  • Ignition delay time
  • Tribrachial flame
  • Mild combustion
  • Jet flame
  • Coflow
  • Syngas
  • Methane
  • Dimethyl ether
  • n-heptane
  • iso-octane
  • Ethanol
  • Gasoline FACEs
  • Formaldehyde
  • Laser-induced fluorescence

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