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MAE 5310: COMBUSTION FUNDAMENTALS

Laminar Premixed Flames Example, Applications and Comments

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department


Florida Institute of Technology
D. R. Kirk

LAMINAR PRE-MIXED FLAME EXAMPLE

Estimate the laminar flame speed, SL, of a stoichiometric propane (C3H8)-air mixture using
the simplified theory of Spalding developed in class
Make use of a global, one-step reaction mechanism to estimate the mean reaction rate

Laminar flame structure. Temperature and heat-release rate profiles based on experiments of Friedman and Burke
Reference: Turns An Introduction to Combustion

PRINCIPAL CHARACTERISTICS OF LAMINAR PREMIXED FLAMES

Definition of flame speed, SL

Convenient to divide the flame into two zones


1. Preheat zone: little heat is released
2. Reaction zone: most of the chemical energy is released
2.a Thin region of fast chemistry
Destruction of fuel molecules and creation of intermediate species
Dominated by bimolecular reactions
At atmospheric pressure, fast zone is usually less than 1 mm
Temperature and species concentration gradients are very large
The large gradients provide the driving forces for the flame to be self-sustaining, i.e.
diffusion of heat and radical species from the reaction zone to the preheat zone
2.b Wider region of slow chemistry
Chemistry is dominated by three-body radical recombination reactions, such as the
final burn-out of CO via CO + OH CO2 + H
At atmospheric pressure, this zone may extend several mm

Temperature profile through flame


Product density is less than the reactant density so that by continuity the velocity of the burned gases is
greater than the velocity of the unburned gases
For a typical hydrocarbon-air flame at atmospheric pressure, the density ratio is about 7

LAMINAR PREMIXED FLAMES: SIMPLIFIED ANALYSIS

Analysis couples principles of heat transfer, mass transfer, chemical kinetics, and
thermodynamics to understand the factors governing:
Flame speed, SL
Flame thickness, (ANSWER, =2/SL)
Simplified approach using conservation relations
Assumptions:
1. 1-D, constant area, steady flow
2. Neglect: kinetic and potential energy, viscous shear work, thermal radiation
3. Constant pressure (neglect small pressure difference across flame)
4. Diffusion of heat governed by Fouriers law
5. Diffusion of mass governed by Ficks law (binary diffusion)
6. Lewis number (Le/D) unity
7. Individual specific heats are equal and constant
8. Fuel and oxidizer form products in a single-step exothermic reaction
9. Oxidizer is present in stoichiometric or excess proportions; thus, the fuel is
completely consumed at the flame.

Compare with development of Equation 8.7b

VON KARMAN INTEGRAL ANALYSIS OF F.P.B.L.

USEFUL DATA AND EQUATIONS


k global
y
y
C x H y x O2 xCO2 H 2O
4
2

d Cx H y
Ea
C H m O n
A exp
2
RT x y
dt

Pay attention to units conversion


(see WSR example for C2H6)

m
S L 2 1 F
u

2 u

1
m
F

2
SL

Theoretical expression for laminar flame speed, SL

Premixed laminar flame thickness,

DETAILED ANALYSIS USING CHEMKIN: CH4-AIR PREMIXED LAMINAR FLAME

m
S L 2 1 F
u

2 u

1 m F

2
SL

Figure (a) shows principal C-containing species CH 4, CO, and CO2.


Note disappearance of fuel and appearance of intermediate CO,
and burn-out of CO to form CO 2
CO concentration has peak value at approx same location
where CH4 concentration goes to zero
CO2 concentration at first lags CO concentration but then
continues to rise as CO is oxidized
Figure (b) shows C-containing intermediate species CH 3, CH2O, and
HCO, which are produced and destroyed in a narrow interval from
approximately 0.4 mm 1.1 mm.
Figure (d) shows same phenomena for the CH radical
Figure (c) shows that H-intermediates, HO 2 and H2O2 have somewhat
broader profiles than C-intermediates. Peak concentrations appear
slightly earlier in flame.
H2O mole fractions reaches its 80% of equilibrium value (at
about 0.9 mm) sooner than CO 2 (at about 2mm)
All fuel has been destroyed in approx. 1 mm and most of total
temperature rise (~ 75%) occurs in same interval
Approach to equilibrium is relatively slow beyond this point
(no equilibrium even at 3 mm)
Slow approach toward equilibrium is a consequence of
dominance of 3-body recombinations
Figure (d) shows NO production
Rapid rise in NO mole fraction in same region where CH
radical is present in flame
This is followed by a continual (almost linear) increase in NO
mole fraction. In this later region NO formation is dominated
by Zeldovich kinetics.
Curve ultimately bends over as reverse reactions become more
important and equilibrium is approached asymptotically

DETAILED ANALYSIS USING CHEMKIN: CH4-AIR PREMIXED LAMINAR FLAME

Plot shows molar production / destruction rates for


various species and provides more insight into
CH4 CO CO2 sequence

Peak fuel destruction rate nominally corresponds


with peak CO production rate

CO2 production rate initially lags that of CO

Even before location where there is no longer any


CH4 to produce additional CO, the net CO
production rate becomes negative (CO is being
destroyed)

Maximum rate of CO destruction occurs just


downstream of peak CO2 production rate

Bulk of chemical activity is contained in an


interval extending from about 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm

DETAILED ANALYSIS USING CHEMKIN: CH4-AIR PREMIXED LAMINAR FLAME

Plot shows NO production rate through flame


Figure shows that early appearance of NO
within flame (0.5 mm 0.8 mm see Figure
(d)) is result of passive diffusion since
production rate is essentially zero in that
region.
First chemical activity associated with NO is
a destructive process in region approximately
0.8 mm 0.9 mm.
NO production reaches a maximum at an
axial location between CH and O-atom
concentrations. It is likely that both Fenimore
and Zeldovich pathways are important (see
p.168-171 or Turns.
Beyond O-atom peak at a distance of 1.2 mm
(Figure (d)), NO production rate falls. Since
temperature continues to rise in this region,
decline in net NO production rate must be a
consequence of decaying O-atom
concentration and building strength of reverse
reactions.

STOICHIOMETRIC METHANOL-AIR FLAME

FACTORS INFLUENCING SL AND

m
S L 2 1 F
u

2 u

1 m F

SL T

0.375

Scaling relation developed on p. 274-275

Laminar flame speed has a strong temperature


dependence
Global reaction orders for HC ~ 2
EA ~ 1.67x108 J/kmol

Example: CASE A vs. CASE B


SL increases by a factor of 3.64 when the
unburned gas temperature is increased from
300 K to 600 K
Increasing unburned gas temperature will
also increase the burned gas temperature by
the same amount (neglect dissociation and
variable specific heats)
Example: CASE A vs. CASE C
Case C forces a lower Tb
Captures the effect of heat transfer of
changing equivalence ratio, either rich or
lean, from the maximum-temperature
condition.

n 2
u b

TT

exp E A 2 RuTb P

n2

T 0.375Tbn 2 exp E A 2 RuTb P n 2


1
T Tb Tu
2

CASE

Tu

300

600

300

Tb

2,000

2,300

1,700

SL/SL,A

3.64

0.46

/,A

0.65

1.95

LAMINAR FLAME SPEED (T&P) SCALING: USEFUL DATA


S L 10 3.71x10 4 Tu

Experimental measurements
generally show a negative
pressure dependence
Plot is for CH4 - Air
SL (cm/s) = 43P-0.5 (atm)

Plot is for CH4 Air


=1.0
P=1 atm

Primary effect of is through flame temperature


Max slightly rich of =1.0

LAMINAR FLAME SPEED FOR VARIOUS FUELS


Laminar flame speeds for pure
Fuels burning in air at = 1.0
P = 1 atm, Tu = 300K

Comment on H2
Thermal diffusivity of H2 is many times greater than HC fuels
Mass diffusivity of H2 is much greater than HC fuels
Reaction kinetics for H2 are very rapid (no slow CO CO2 step)

FLAME SPEED CORRELATIONS FOR SELECTED FUELS

One of most useful correlations for laminar flame speed, SL, given by Metghalchi and Keck
Determined experimentally over a range of temperatures and pressures typical of those found in
reciprocating IC engines and gas-turbine combustors

Tu
T
u ,ref

S L S L ,ref

P
ref

S L ,ref BM B2 M

1 2.1Ydil

2.18 0.8 1
0.16 0.22 1

EXAMPLE: Employ correlation of Metghalchi and Keck to compare laminar flame speed gasoline
(RMFD-303)-air mixtures with = 0.8 for 3 cases:
1. At reference conditions of T = 298 K and P = 1 atm
2. At conditions typical of a spark ignition engine operating at T = 685 K and P = 18.38 atm
3. At same conditions as (2) but with 15 percent (by mass) exhaust gas recirculation

TRANSIENT BEHAVIOR

3 important aspects to consider


1. Quenching distance
Critical diameter of a circular tube where a flame extinguishes, rather than
propagates
2. Flammability limits
Lower limit: leanest mixture (<1) that will allow steady flame propagation
Upper limit: richest mixture (>1) that will allow steady flame propagation
3. Minimum ignition energy
In each of these, heat loss is the controlling phenomena
Ignition and Quenching Criteria (also called Williams criteria):
1. Ignition will only occur if enough energy is added to the gas to heat a slab about as
thick as a steadily propagating laminar flame to the adiabatic flame temperature
2. The rate of liberation of heat by chemical reactions inside the slab must approximately
balance the rate of heat loss from the slab by thermal conduction
Keep in mind that (1) and (2) are just rules-of-thumb

EXAMPLE: FLAME ARRESTERS

Flame arresters on boat motor

Davey Miners Safety Lamp

Flame arresters are used to prevent


propagation of flame fronts in process piping

The screen's ability to dissipate heat and prevent combustion while


allowing flammable mixtures of gases to pass through has been
used in practical applications. Sir Humphrey Davy used this principle
in his invention of the miner's safety lamp in 1815.
Flammable gases from the mine could pass through the screen and
burn in the enclosed flame with a 'colored haze' while the screen
prevented the open flame from causing a mine explosion

QUENCHING DISTANCE, FLAMMABILITY LIMITS, AND MINIMUM IGNITION ENERGY

CH4-Air at 1 atm
Laminar flame speeds for pure
Fuels burning in air at = 1.0
P = 1 atm, Tu = 300K

FLAMMABILITY LIMITS

Experiments show that a flame will propagate only within a range of mixture compositions (sometimes
called mixture strengths in this context) between lower and upper limits of flammability
Lower limit is leanest mixture ( < 1) that will allow steady flame propagation
Upper limit is richest mixture ( > 1) that will allow steady flame propagation
Flammability limits are frequently quoted as percent fuel by volume in mixture, or as a percentage
of the stoichiometric fuel requirement
Experimental determination: Tube Method
Determine whether or not a flame initiated at the bottom of a vertical tube (approximately 50 mm
diameter and 1.2 m long) propagates the length of tube
A mixture that sustains the flame is said to be flammable and by adjusting the mixture
strength, flammability limit can be ascertained
In addition to mixture properties, experimental flammability limits are related to heat losses
from the system, and hence, are generally apparatus dependent

Example: A full propane cylinder from a stove


leaks contents of 1.02 lb (0.464 kg) into a 12 x
14 x 8 (3.66 m x 4.27 m x 2.44 m) room at 20
C and 1 atm. After a long time, the fuel gas and
the room air are well mixed. Is mixture in room
flammable?

IGNITION

GOAL: Estimate minimum ignition energy, Eign, as a function of T & P


CRITERIA: Volume of gaseous reactants heated during ignition must be large
enough so that when ignition source is removed, heat loss to the surroundings will
not exceed the chemical energy release rate.

FLAME STABILIZATION COMMENTS

Both Flashback and Liftoff are related to matching local laminar flame speed to local flow velocity

Flashback occurs when the flame enters and propagates through the burner tube without quenching
Can be dangerous and can lead to explosions
Can be useful as a flash tube from pilot flame to a burner
Occurs when local flame speed exceeds local flow velocity (when fuel flow is being decreased or
turned off transient event)
Controlling parameters: fuel type, equivalence ratio, flow velocity, and burner geometry (same
parameters that control quenching)

Liftoff is the condition where the flame is not attached to the burner tube but is stabilized at some
distance from the port
Can lead to escape or loss of unburned gases
Can lead to incomplete combustion
Ignition is often difficult above lifting limit
Tough to accurately control position of flame
Poor heat transfer
Flame can be noisy

FLAME STABILIZATION COMMENTS

Liftoff depends on local flame and flow properties near the edges of the burner port
Liftoff and blowoff can be explained by the countervailing effects of decreased heat and radical loss to
burner and increased dilution with ambient air, both occur when flow velocity is increased

Consider a flame that is stabilized close to burner rim


1. Local flow velocity at stabilization location is small because of boundary layer (V wall=0)
2.

Because flame is close to cold wall, both heat and reactive species diffuse to wall, which leads to
small SL

With SL and flow velocities small and equal, flame edge lies close to burner tube

Now increase flow velocity further

New effect is important: dilution of mixture with ambient air as a result of diffusion

Dilution tends to offset effects of heat loss and flame lifts

With further increases in flow velocity, a point is reached at which there is no location
across the flow at which the SL matches the flow velocity, and the flame blows off the tube

When flow velocity is increased, flame anchor point moves downstream

SL increases since heat/radical losses are less because flame is now not as close to cold wall

Increase in SL results in only a small downstream adjustment

Flame remains attached

FLAME STABILIZATION

http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/shuttle/usmp4/science/elf_obj.html