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Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

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Acta Astronautica
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/actaastro

Fluid mechanics of pulse detonation thrusters$


Phylippov Yu.G.a, Dushin V.R.a,b,n, Nikitin V.F.a,b, Nerchenko V.A.a, Korolkova N.V.a,
Guendugov V.M.a
a
b

Moscow M.V. Lomonosov State University, Moscow 119899, Russia


Scientic Research Institute for System Analysis of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 117218, Russia

a r t i c l e i n f o

abstract

Article history:
Received 28 January 2012
Accepted 5 February 2012
Available online 28 March 2012

The advantages of constant volume combustion cycle as compared to constant pressure


combustion in terms of thermodynamic efciency have focused the researches of
advanced propulsion on detonation engines. The paper gives coverage of efforts
undertaken during past decades in adjusting detonations for propulsion applications,
and highlights new challenges in studying uid ow dynamics relevant to onset of
detonation.
& 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Detonation
Engine
Propulsion
Thermodynamic efciency
Combustion
Transition

1. Introduction
One of the schemes for producing enhanced thrust at
both static and dynamic conditions is pulse detonations.
Thermodynamic efciency of ChapmenJouget detonation as compared to other combustion modes is due to
the minimal entropy of the exhaust jet. Based on this
efforts have been made during the past several decades to
show that proper utilization of the operation cycle does
result in improved performance. However, there are
several issues in developing this technology, which represent scientic and technological challenges. The success
in resolving these problems will determine the implementation of pulse detonation propulsion.
The control of detonation onset is of major importance
in pulse detonating devices. The advantages of detonation
over constant pressure combustion bring to the necessity

$
The present investigation was supported by Russian Foundation for
Basic Research Grant 10-03-00789.
n
Corresponding author at: Moscow M.V. Lomonosov State University,
Vorobievy Gory, 1, 119899 Moscow, Russian Federation.
Fax: 7 095 939 4995.
E-mail addresses: mech.math.msu@rambler.ru,
vrdush@rambler.ru (V.R. Dushin).

0094-5765/$ - see front matter & 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.02.007

of promoting the deagration to detonation transition


(DDT) and shortening the pre-detonation length. Most of
combustible mixtures being heterogeneous the problem
of liquid droplet interaction with surrounding gas ow
with account of heat and mass transfer and atomization
becomes of key interest.
The probable application of these principles to creating
the new generation of engines put the problem of DDT on
top of current research needs. The DDT turned to be the key
factor characterizing the Pulse Detonation Engine (PDE)
operating cycle. Thus, the problem of DDT control in gaseous
and polydispersed fuelair mixtures became very acute.
The paper contains the results of theoretical and
experimental investigations of deagration to detonation
transition (DDT) processes in combustible gaseous mixtures. The inuence of geometrical characteristics of the
connement, ow turbulization, temperature and fuel
concentration in the unburned mixture on the onset of
detonation and its possible arrest are discussed.

2. Current state of art


Detonation provides essential advantages as compared
with classical combustion engine schemes from the point

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Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

of view of energy conversion rate, which three orders of


magnitude surpasses the rate of energy release in classical
combustion chambers. Thus detonation regime could turn
to be much more effective in promoting fuel combustion
in supersonic ows.
First studies on pulse detonation engines as reported
in [1] were performed by Hoffmann in 1940, wherein
mixtures of acetylene, benzyl and liquid oxygen were
used. More than 10 years later Nicholls and co-workers
investigated pulse detonation devices fed by mixtures of
hydrogen and/or acetylene with oxygen [2]. First investigations of pulse detonating devices using mixtures of
hydrocarbon fuels with atmospheric air were performed
in the former Soviet Union in the beginning of the 1980s
[3], and demonstrated the principle possibility of creating
pulse detonation engines fed by available liquid hydrocarbon fuels and atmospheric air as an oxidizer. Investigations of pulse detonation engines were continued in
the 1990s of the 20th century and beginning of the the
21st century [48]. Most of effective schemes were based
on deagration to detonation transition principles [14,8].
Schemes based on detonation transmission from narrow
tube into a chamber of big diameter were also investigated [9], as well as schemes using rotating detonation
wave in a supersonic ow [1012], and schemes of high
frequency resonators [13]. Advantages and limitations
of pulse detonation engines were discussed in [14].
Different schemes of pulse detonation engines are shown
in Figs. 16.
The most important issue for developing pulse detonation engines is the guarantee of a periodical onset of
stable detonation wave. Due to that reason fundamental
investigations of deagration to detonation transition
constitute an important part of pulse detonation engine
investigations.
A new scheme of transmission detonation from an
outer narrow gap into a wider tube by means of converging shock formation for hydrogenoxygen mixtures was
studied in [29].

unexpectedly detected the onset of a supersonic mode


of combustion wave traveling at velocities of thousands
meters per second. This combustion mode got the name
of false or out of tone combustion, which sounds in
French like detonation being originated from the French
verb detonner. The existence of two alternative velocities for the combustion process needed theoretical
explanation, which was given in 1993 by an Associate
Professor of Moscow University V.A. Mikhelson in his
paper On normal combustion velocity of explosive gaseous mixtures [20]. Based on having been published by
that time papers by Rankine [21], and Hugoniot [22]
Mikhelson was the rst to explain that the mechanism
of ame propagation in detonation was not the heat
conductivity, but adiabatic heating up to the ignition
point in shock waves. That was the birth of the classical
theory of detonation, which found its further development in the papers by Chapman [23] and Jouget [24].
Investigations of deagration to detonation transition
(DDT) in hydrogenoxygen mixtures [2528] and later in
hydrocarbonsair mixtures [3,30,31] showed the multiplicity of the transition processes scenario. The various modes
of the detonation onset were shown to depend on particular
ow pattern created by the accelerating ame, thus making
the transition process non-reproducible in its detailed
sequence of events. By now, there exist different points
of view on the DDT mechanism: the explosion in explosion mechanism by Oppenheim [26,28] and the gradient
mechanism of spontaneous ame by Zeldovich [32].
The later theoretical analysis showed that micro-scale
non-uniformities (temperature and concentration gradients) arising in local exothermic centers (hot spots)
ahead of the ame zone could be sufcient for the onset
of detonation or normal deagration [3339]. Analysis
and comparison of theoretical and experimental results
showed that self-ignition in one or in a number of hot
spots ahead of the accelerating ame followed by the

3. The co-existence of two combustion modes


In 1881, Mallard and Le Chatelier [18] and Berthelot
and Vieille [19] were the rst to face deagration
to detonation transition process. On investigating ame
propagation in homogeneous gaseous mixtures they
Load Cell
Ps, Pd

Fig. 2. Examples of geometric and mixture congurations used in papers


[5,6,9].

Swirler

Initiator

Ps, Pd

Window

Bypass duct

Inlet Flow

Exhaust

Fuel Valve

Turbulence
Generator

Valve
Spark Ignitor

Fig. 1. Schematic arrangement of the PDE test facility at GE Corporate Research and Development [7].

Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

117

Fig. 3. Mixture ignition in Wojcicki pulse detonation engine [15].

Fig. 4. Scheme of detonation engine with a rotating detonation wave [16]: (a) 1 inlet, 2 shaft, 3 impeller(compressor), 4- ring-like detonation
chamber, 5 turbine, 6 nozzle; (b) 1 inlet, 2 fuel injection, 3 ring-like detonation chamber, 5 fan, 6 tilted nozzle (turbine).

Fig. 5. Principal scheme for the multi-channel pulse detonation engine


[17]: 1st (upper) channel ignition of combustible mixture lling the
channel; 2nd channel detonation wave propagation to the outlet
(working cycle); 3rd channel rarefaction wave propagation from the
outlet (working cycle); 4th channel reopening valve and relling the
channel with fresh combustible mixture.

experimental and theoretical investigations [41,42] of the


reected shocklaminar ame interactions bringing to the
onset of detonation showed, as well, that the transition to
detonation in a hot spot takes place through the gradient
mechanism, while the shocks and ames interactions were
important for creating the proper conditions for the hot
spots to occur.
To promote DDT in tubes effective measures were
suggested: introducing the Shchelkin spiral in the ignition
section [43], incorporating wider turbulizing chambers in
the ignition section (Smirnovs cavities) [29,40], blocking
the initial part of the tube with orice plates [44]. To
bring detonation to a decay detonation arrestors are used
[45]. Wider turbulizing chambers were discovered to
provide for DDT both promoting effect and inhibiting
effect depending on their number and location [46].
Insights on peculiarities of detonation onset in DDT ere
provided in [4750].
4. Mathematical model

Fig. 6. Operating scheme of multi-purpose pulse detonation waves


generator fed by hydrocarbon fuelsair mixture[3]: 1, 2 cavities of a
wider cross-section in the beginning of the tube, 3, 4 moving walls
allowing cavities volume variation, 5 spark plug, 6 reverse valve, 7
detonation tube.

onset of either detonation or deagration waves brings to a


multiplicity of the transition scenarios [40]. The common
feature of all those scenarios is the formation of local
exothermic centers according to stochastic Oppenheim
mechanism followed by the onset of detonation at a
micro-scale in one of the exothermic centers according to
spontaneous Zeldovich mechanism [40]. The fundamental

Numerical investigations of the DDT processes were


performed using the system of equations for the gaseous
phase obtained by Favre averaging of the system of
equations for multicomponent multiphase media. The
modied k-epsilon model was used. To model temperature uctuations the third equation was added to the
k-epsilon model to determine the mean squared deviate of
temperature [50]. The production and kinetic terms were
modeled using the Gaussian quadrature technique.
The governing equations for the averaged values of
parameters look as follows:
!
@t r rUr u 0,
1

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Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

!
!
_k
@t rY k rUr u Y k rU I k o

!
! !
!
@t r u rUr u  u r g rp rUt

!
!
! !
!
!
@t rE rUr u E r u U g rUp u rU I q rUtU u
4
Eqs. (1)(4) include mass balance in the gas phase,
mass balance of kth component, momentum balance and
energy balance respectively. We have the following relaP
tionships between the terms in Eqs. ((1) and (2)): Y k
k

P
P!
I k 0,
o_ k 0. The state equations for gaseous
k
k
P
P
mixture are the following: p Rg rT Y k =W k , E Y k
1,

!2
!
cvk T h0k u2 k. The turbulent heat ux I q in Eq. (4)
! ! P
!
is a sum of two terms: I q J q cpk T h0k I k , where
k

!
J q could be interpreted as turbulent conductive heat
ux. The eddy kinematic viscosity nt is expressed accord2

ing to the k-epsilon model as nt C m k =e: The turbulent


uxes were modeled in the following way:
!T
!
t m rn r!
u r u 2=3rU u U2=3rkU,
t

X
!
!
I k rD nt =sd rUY k , J q l
cpk Y k rnt =st rUT,

technique was applied:


p
p
AT 3yAT  3y
p
TAT y
:
2 3y

11

The dissipation function Dy was chosen in the form


(10) to satisfy the rule that the squared temperature
deviate cannot exceed its maximal possible value ym ,
because the value of T T T cannot be negative. However, production terms do not grant the presence of such a
boundary. To guarantee it we incorporate the multiplier
1=ym y into the dissipation term (the other multipliers
are standard, see [51]). In order to estimate the value of
ym , we should take into account that the probability for
the deviate value to exceed two times the mean deviate
value is less than 1% for the normal distribution. Also, we
should take into account that the mean temperature
deviate in experiments published by Philip [51] did not
exceed half of the maximal mean temperature. With this,
2
we estimate ym as follows:ym T =4: The dissipation
constant C g in (13) could be determined based on the
experiments [51]:C g 2:8:
The constants in (7)(10) take the following standard
values:
C m 0:09,C 1e 1:45,C 2e 1:92,

sd 1, st 0:9, sk 1, se 1:3:
2

ym T =4: C g 2:8:

6
_ k was calcuThe kth component mass origination rate o
lated as a sum of mass production rates okj in each nth
chemical reaction taking place in a gaseous phase. The
_ k is very
term responsible for chemical transformations, o
sensitive to temperature variations, as it is usually the
Arrhenius law type function for the reactions rates. Let us
regard the temperature being a stochastic function T with
mean T and mean squared deviate y TT.The model was
closed then by the equations for k,y and e:
!
!
@t rk rUr u k rUm rnt =sk rk tt : r u re
7
!
!
@t re rUr u e rUm rnt =se re e=kC 1e tt : r u C 2e re

8
X
!
@t rc~ p y rUr u c~ p y rUl
cpk Y k rnt =sk ry P y W y Dy ,
k

9
where the production terms P y ,W y and the dissipation
term Dy were determined by the following formulas:
X
X 0 0
P y 2r
cpk Y k nt =sk rT2 , W y 
o_ k T h0k ,
k

Dy C g r

cpk Y k

k ym y

c~ p

cpk Y k :

10

In deriving the production W y due to chemistry the


Arrhenius law for chemical transformations was assumed.
_ k the Gaussian quadrature
To calculate the averaged term o

The gaseous phase was supposed to contain the following set of species: O2 ; Cn Hm ; CO; CO2 ; H2 ; H2 O; N2 .
0
The chemical potential of hydrocarbon fuel h2 was
considered to be a problem parameter, along with its
composition n and m. The potential depends not only on
n and m but also on particular hydrocarbon fractions the
fuel consists of. The following brutto reactions between
the species were considered:
n
m
m
m
Cn Hm
s
O2 -nCO s H2 O 1s H2
2
4
2
2
CO 0:5O2 -CO2
CO2 M-CO 0:5O2 M
H2 0:5O2 -H2 O
H2 O M-H2 0:5O2 M
Here, s is the share of water in hydrocarbon decomposition. This parameter depends on the particular content of
fuel (like the hydrocarbon chemical potential). We denote
B 5 reactions number. The rates of species origination
are supposed to yield the Arrhenius law and the acting
masses law. With multiple reactions, the origination rates
are split into elementary parts:

o_ k

B
X

okj :

12

j1

where okj is the kth species origination rate per volume


due to jth reaction. The actual formulas for determining okj
for the present reaction mechanism are described in [50].

Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

The temperature deviation production term in Eq. (9)


for multiple species and reactions has the following form:
W y T 0

B
X

K
X

13

j1k1

Each term okj incorporates Arrhenius function for the jth


reaction Aj T, which is assumed to have the following
form:
(
)
K j expT aj =T,T ZT mj
Aj T
14
0,
T o T mj
where K j is the pre-exponential factor, T aj is the activation
temperature, T mj is the minimum temperature. In order to
obtain the term W y (13), one should nd the mean values
T 0 Aj T using formula (11) and then sum those terms up
using formula (13). The procedure for averaging nonlinear functions was described in detail in [50].
The boundary of the computational domain contains
the outer walls and the axis of symmetry. The walls for
the case of cylindrical symmetry could be a combination
of coaxial cylindrical surfaces and rings or plates orthogonal to the axis.
The boundary conditions for the gas phase are constructed in accordance with the following considerations:
The walls of the cylindrical domain are thermo-insulated
and non-catalytic, the velocity of gas is zero on the walls
and the averaged gas motion has cylindrical symmetry.
This leads to von Neumanns conditions for temperature
and mass fractions of species at the walls of the cylinder
(their normal derivatives are equal to zero).
x 0,
x xi ,
x X,

r i r r rRi :

ux ur 0,

@T
0,
@x

@Y k
0;
@x
15

r Ri , xi r x rxi 1
r ri ,

xi1 r x rxi

ux ur 0,
r 0,

@T
0,
@r

i 1,:::,N1,

@ux
0,
@r

ne

Ry

p y
k ,

20

where y is a distance from the nearest wall. For the Lam


Bremhorst low Reynolds ke model the functions are
determined in the following way:


,
f m 1exp0:0165Ry 2 1 20:5
Rt
 3
,
f 1 1 0:05
f
m

f 2 1expR2t :
The system of gas-dynamics equations being rewritten
in a vector form was split in three parts due to three
different physical processes: chemistry, source terms,
generalized turbulence production terms formed the
local part of the equations; convective terms formed
the hyperbolic part of the equations; and diffusive,
viscous and thermo-cunductive terms formed the parabolic part of the equations.
The local part was solved implicitly using an iterative
algorithm independently for each grid node. The hyperbolic part was solved using explicit FCT techniques [53].
The parabolic part was solved implicitly using 3-diagonal
matrix solvers for linear equations [54]. The techniques
removed viscosity from the time step criterion and
reduced it to the Courant-Friedrichs-Lewy criterion.
To solve the system of equations splitting by coordinates was used according to MacCormack [55]. Validation
of the numerical scheme was performed by comparing
the results of test runs with the exact gas-dynamics
solutions and with model experiments on turbulent
ames propagation in conned volumes.
The ignition was modeled by energy release in a ballshape volume at the axis of tube in the center of the rst
chamber.
5. Results of numerical modeling

@Y k
0;
@r

0 rx r X : ur 0,

16
@T
0,
@r

@Y k
0:
@r
17

The boundary conditions for turbulent parameters k, e, y


are constructed according to the wall laws [23]:
@e
@y
18
! 0,
! 0,
@n
@n
!
where n is the normal vector to the wall. To take into
account the wall damping effect the coefcients of the
original turbulence model are modied in accordance with
the LamBremhorst low Reynolds models [52]:
k 0,

C m C 0m f m ,
C 1e C 01e f 1 ,

numbers
Rt

0
_ kj :
hk o

119

19

C 2e C 02e f 2 ,
where f m , f 1 , f 2 are positive functions: 0 of m r1,
f 1 Z 1, 0 r f 2 r 1, and which depend on two local Reynolds

Numerical modeling made it possible to explain the


scenario of ame acceleration and the onset of detonation
on the contact surface ahead of the ame zone. In ame
acceleration weak shock waves in gas precede the deagration wave. The interaction of shock waves gives birth
to a rarefaction wave moving backward to the ame front
and the contact discontinuity that exists between the
leading shock and the ame zone. The zone between the
leading shock and the contact surface has a higher
temperature. Thus the induction period in this zone is
less than between the ame front and the contact surface.
The rst thermal explosion takes place in the layer of gas
that has been at the higher temperature for the longest
time, i.e. in the gas layer on the contact surface. That
explosion can bring to either deagration or detonation
waves propagating from the exothermic center. Following
the gradient mechanism detonation waves propagating in
opposite directions could be formed in this zone. The
intensity of the retonation (reverse detonation) wave falls
down on entering the reaction products. The detonation
wave overtaking the leading shock forms an overdriven

120

Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

Fig. 7. Geometry of the computational domain. (a) two chambers in the


ignition section, (b) chambers incorporated into the tube along the
whole length; and (c) two chambers in the far end section of the tube.

detonation in the uncompressed mixture that gradually


slows down to the ChapmanJouget speed.
Experimental investigations of the deagration to
detonation transition in combustible gases testied that
the presence of different turbulizing elements in the
initial sections of detonation tubes promotes DDT by
shortening the pre-detonation length and pre-detonation
time. Turbulizing chambers of a wider cross-section were
found to be one of the most effective geometrical promoters for the DDT. Numerical experiments were undertaken for comparative studies of the role of different
turbulizing elements and their location in the tube. In
numerical simulations the test vessel contained a detonation tube with a number of chambers of a wider crosssection incorporated in different places of the tube lled

Fig. 8. Reaction zone trajectory (left) and mean ame front velocity (right) variation in the tube versus time for fuel concentration Cfuel 0.012: (a) tube
incorporating two chambers in the ignition section, (b) - tube without any chambers.

Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

121

in with combustible gaseous mixture at ambient pressure


(Fig. 7). Ignition of mixture was performed by a concentrated energy release in the center of the rst chamber or
the tube itself in the left hand side near the closed end.
The number of chambers was varied from one to twenty.
Simulations were performed for the following cases:
1. the initial section had two incorporated turbulizing
chambers of a wider cross-section;
2. the far end section had two similar incorporated
turbulizing chambers of a wider cross-section;
3. turbulizing chambers were located along the whole tube.
5.1. The role of chambers in the ignition section
To investigate the inuence of turbulizing chambers of
a wider cross-section on the onset of detonation numerical modeling was performed for a test vessel containing a
detonation tube with two chambers of a wider crosssection (Fig. 7) lled in with combustible gaseous mixture
at ambient pressure. Ignition of the mixture was performed by a concentrated energy release in the center of
the rst chamber. The results show the process of ame
propagation that in the rst chamber is rather slow and is
determined mostly by initial turbulization of the mixture.
The ame accelerates and penetrates the bridge between
the two chambers due to a gas ow caused by the
expansion of reaction products. A high velocity jet penetrating the second chamber brings to a very fast ame
propagation both due to additional ow turbulization and
the piston effect of the expanding reaction products
supported by the continuing combustion in the rst
chamber. Fast combustion in the second chamber brings
to a sharp pressure increase that pushes the ame further
into the tube, which gives birth to strong ow nonuniformity and shock wave formation in the tube ahead of the
ame zone. At some place the detonation arises from a
hot spot within the combustion zone, which gives birth to
strong detonation and retonation waves. Fig. 8 shows
reaction zone trajectory (left) and mean ame front
velocity (right) variation in the tube versus time for the
cases of tube incorporating two chambers in the ignition
section (Fig. 8(a)), and a tube without any chambers
(Fig. 8(b)). It is seen that the onset of detonation in a
tube without chambers is an unstable stochastic process,
and each pulsation of velocity depending on some additional disturbance could result in the onset of detonation.
The increase of the number of chambers incorporated into
the ignition section to one or two makes the DDT more
stable and brings to the decrease of pre-detonation
length.
5.2. The inuence of fuel concentration.
Fig. 9(a)(d) shows the corresponding reaction zone
trajectory and mean ame front velocity variation in the
tube for different values of fuel concentration, but for one
and the same tube geometry. Mean ame velocities are
also marked for different parts of the trajectories. It is seen
that ame accelerates on entering the second chamber,

Fig. 9. Reaction front velocity for different fuel concentrations in a twochamber device.

122

Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

then it slows down. A high speed combustion wave enters


the detonation tube, where the transition takes place.
Analysis of results present in Fig. 9 shows that on
decreasing the fuel content of the mixtures its detonability via DDT decreases. The pre-detonation time increases
(Fig. 9(a) and (b)), but once the onset of the detonation
takes place it propagates at a practically constant velocity.
Velocity diagrams testify that in both cases the onset of
detonation takes place via an overdriven regime.
The decrease of fuel molar concentration below
Cfuel 0.011 brings to formation of galloping combustion
regimes. Those galloping combustion regimes are not
caused by numerical instability as one cycle of the process

develops within 150200 time steps. The hot spots occur


alternatively near lateral walls (higher pressure pikes) and
in the center and bring to ame zone accelerations. The
reaction zone trajectories and velocities shown in Fig. 9(c)
and (d) allow to evaluate oscillations. For fuel concentration
0.011 the galloping combustion regime propagates with
velocity oscillations within the range of 4201200 m/s. The
onset of detonation does not take place within the 2.25 m
length of the tube. The average velocity of the galloping
combustion mode here was 760 m/s. For fuel concentration
0.010 the galloping combustion begins later and propagates
with a lower velocity: oscillations within the range 270
1000 m/s, average velocity 435 m/s.

Fig. 10. Reaction front position and velocity for fuel volumetric concentration 0.012.

t = 9.01 ms

t = 10.00 ms

t = 9.56 ms

t = 10.28 ms

t = 9.82 ms

t = 10.60 ms

Fig. 11. Density maps in the 67th chambers. Expansion ratio bER 0.96, fuel volume concentration 0.012.

Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

123

Fig. 12. Reaction front position and velocity in a multi-chamber tube.

5.3. The role of chambers at the end of the tube


To provide a comparative data we investigated the role
of two chambers of a wider cross-section incorporated in
the far end of the tube. The tube was identical to that used
in previous numerical experiments but symmetrical in
respect to 1801 rotation (equivalent to ignition performed
at the opposite side) (Fig. 7(c)). Numerical results showed
that after ignition in a narrow tube (ignition energy was
increased) acceleration of ame zone accompanied by a
number of oscillations brought to formation of the detonation wave propagating with mean velocity 1850 m/s.
On entering the rst chamber decoupling of the shock
wave and reaction zone took place and the mean velocity
of reaction zone propagation decreased to 200 m/s, then
in a narrow bridge ame accelerated up to 400 m/s, and
slowed down in the second chamber to 100 m/s. Fig. 10
illustrates reaction front trajectory and velocity variation
versus time for the detonation onset and degeneration in
a tube with two chambers at the end (fuel concentration
was 0.012). Thus similar chambers of wider cross-section
incorporated in the end of the detonation tube bring to an
arrest of the detonation wave.
5.4. The effect of chambers incorporated in the tube along
the whole length
The geometry of the test vessel was the following: the
detonation tube 2.95 m length incorporated 20 similar
turbulizing chambers uniformly distributed along the axis.
The results showed that for the fuel concentration 0.012
the DDT process did not take place at all. The galloping
combustion mode was established characterized by velocity oscillations within the range 80 300 m/s, average
velocity of ame front 156 m/s. The maps of density and
velocity for successive times in the section of the tube
incorporating chambers number 6 and 7 are shown in
Fig. 11. It is seen that in each chamber combustion passes
through similar stages: ame penetration from the tube,
expansion and slowing down in the chamber, being
pushed into the next tube accelerating due to continuing
combustion in the chamber. Reaction zone trajectory and
velocity for fuel concentration 0.012 are shown in Fig. 12.

Fig. 13. Mean reaction front velocities in a multi-chamber tube for


different expansion ratios: 1 fuel concentration 0.012; 2 fuel
concentration 0.015.

The results of numerical experiments show that increasing the number of turbulizing chambers did not promote
the DDT for the present conguration, but just the opposite,
it prevented from the onset of detonation and brought to
establishing of the galloping combustion mode. The effect
took place due to very sharp jumps of the cross-section area
in the chambers and periodical slowing the ame down due
to its expansion. (In the present numerical experiment the
expansion ratio parameter bER Schamb Stube =Schamb was
equal to 0.96.) Why does the increase of the number of
chambers up to two promote DDT, while further increase
inhibits the process? To answer the question let us regard
the ame dynamics in DDT in a two chamber tube
(Fig. 8(a)) keeping in mind that the necessary condition
for the DDT is turbulent ame acceleration up to a speed
surpassing sonic velocity. Analysis of results shows that the
piston effect of expanding reaction products in the chamber
brings to a rapid ame acceleration on entering a narrow
tube. After the rst chamber ame acquires velocity
200 m/s, which is less than sonic velocity. After the
second chamber ame is pushed into the tube with a
velocity 500 700 m/s, which surpasses the sonic velocity.
Thus further increase of the number of chambers is not
necessary as it would not increase chamber exit velocity.
Investigations of the sensitivity of self-sustaining combustion modes to expansion ratio parameter show that for

124

Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

small expansion ratios low velocity galloping detonation


was established for large expansion ratios self-sustained
galloping high speed combustion took place, the transient
values of the expansion ratio, which characterize the
transition from low velocity detonation to a high speed
galloping combustion, increase with the increase of fuel
concentration within detonability limits (Fig. 13)
5.5. The inuence of mixture temperature on DDT
The inuence of temperature on the DDT in gases is
one of intriguing issues. The available experimental data
on the inuence of initial mixture temperature on the DDT
process in gases is contradictory. The experiments on DDT
in stoicheometric hydrogen-oxygen mixtures in tubes of a
constant cross-section at a constant pressure showed the
increase of the pre-detonation length with the increase of
temperature [56]. On decreasing the content of hydrogen
the essential inuence of initial mixture temperature on

Fig. 14. Flame axial velocity in a two-chamber tube, Cfuel 0.011,


expansion ratio bER 0.96, for normal and elevated temperature:
(a) T0 300 K; (b) T0 353 K.

the pre-detonation length was not detected within the


temperature range 311473 K [57]. Investigations of DDT
in hydrocarbon fuelair mixtures [3] in tubes incorporating fore-chambers in the ignition section demonstrated
the decrease of pre-detonation length with the increase of
initial mixture temperature.
The reason for the results being contradictory stays deep
in the physical chemistry of the phenomenon, wherein the
increase of initial mixture temperature gives birth to two
opposite effects. On one hand, the increase of temperature
promotes chemical reactions thus promoting the ame
acceleration due to kinetic reasons. On the other hand,
transition to the detonation takes place after turbulent
ame propagation relative velocity surpasses the speed of
sound in gas, which increases with the temperature
increase, thus inhibiting the transition process. The decrease
of density on increasing the temperature at a constant
pressure could be also considered an inhibiting factor.
Probably, due to the competition of these opposite effects
the available data on the inuence of initial mixture
temperature on the DDT process in gases is contradictory.
As it has been already mentioned, in stoicheometric
hydrogen-oxygen mixtures the increase of temperature
brought to the increase of pre-detonation length [55]. Those
results testify, that for hydrogen-oxygen mixtures in tubes
of constant cross-section the effect of sound velocity
increase with the increase of temperature is predominant
as compared with the effect of ame speed increase. Thus
the combination of both effects retards the DDT.
In our investigations of the DDT in tubes incorporating
chambers of a wider cross-section [3,31,40] we rely
heavily on the role of a piston effect of the expanding
reaction products, which penetrate the narrow tube from
a wide chamber thus pushing the turbulent ame in the
tube assisting it in achieving high velocities surpassing
the velocities of sound. Results of numerical modeling
(Fig. 9) show that on leaving the second chamber ame
being pushed into the narrow tube has a velocity surpassing essentially sonic velocity, which is due to gasdynamics effects. Thus the decrease or increase of sonic
velocity in the initial mixture due to temperature variation could hardly inuence the criterion to be satised.
The use of turbulizing fore-chambers neutralizes the
negative effect on DDT of sound velocity increase with
the increase of temperature. Thus the effect of reduction
of chemical induction time with the increase of temperature could turn to be predominant.
Numerical simulations of ignition and ame propagation in lean mixtures (fuel concentration Cfuel 0.011) at
an elevated initial temperature (T0 350 K) showed that
the increase of initial temperature of the combustible
mixture brings to shortening the pre-detonation length
and time. It is seen from Fig. 14, that in case temperature
was low (T0 300 K) the onset of detonation did not take
place within the length of the test section. High speed
galloping combustion occurred for that low fuel concentration. For higher temperature (T0 353 K) DDT took
place and a stable detonation mode was achieved via an
overdriven regime (Fig. 14(b)).
Summarizing the above it should be noted, that in
detonation tubes with wider fore-chambers in the ignition

Yu.G. Phylippov et al. / Acta Astronautica 76 (2012) 115126

section the increase of initial mixture temperature promotes DDT and shortens the pre-detonation length. While
in tubes of constant cross-section (without any forechambers) the effect of initial temperature increase could
be the opposite. Thus the role of mixture temperature on
detonation initiation needs further deep investigation.
6. Conclusions
The undertaken investigations show that ame propagation velocity is essentially dependent on geometry of
the combustion chamber. The presence of wider cavities in
the combustion channel brings to a rapid ame acceleration, which could even result in a changing of combustion
wave propagation mode from deagration to detonation.
Depending on geometrical constraints and mixture
composition different combustion regimes could be
established, such as low velocity combustion, high speed
galloping combustion, low velocity detonation, Chapman
Jouget and overdriven detonation modes.
The presence of one or two turbulizing chambers of a
wider cross-section in the ignition section shortens the
pre-detonation length for hydrocarbon-air gaseous mixtures and makes the onset of detonation more stable.
The increase of the number of similar chambers
uniformly distributed along the tube blocks the onset of
detonation: galloping highs speed combustion modes
were established for large expansion ratios, or low velocity galloping detonations were established for small
expansion ratios. Mean reaction front axial velocity grows
with the increase of hydrocarbon fuel concentration in the
range of 0.010 0.015. For expansion ratios within the
range 0.40.6 the increase of fuel content could bring to a
change of propagation regime: galloping combustion
mode could be changed for the low velocity detonation
regime. Transient values of the expansion ratio, which
characterize the transition from low velocity detonation
to a high speed galloping combustion increase with the
increase of fuel concentration within detonability limits.
The increase of the number of turbulizing fore-chambers
in the ignition section promotes DDT until ame velocity on
leaving the last fore-chamber surpasses sonic velocity. The
further increase of the number of chambers inhibits DDT.
The increase of initial mixture temperature in tubes
incorporating turbulizing fore-chambers of wider diameter
in the ignition section promotes DDT and shortens predetonation length, while in tubes without fore-chambers
the effect of temperature increase on DDT could be quite
the opposite bringing to the increase of pre-detonation
length. Thus investigations of PDE effectiveness should
obligatory take into account the dynamics of DDT and
onset of detonation because these processes constitute the
longest stage of the cycle and need the longest part of the
engine channel for full scale development.

Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge the nancial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic research
(Grant 10-03-00789).

125

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