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An Experimental Study of the Stability of Laminar Flame


Curran, Donald Charles (1953) An Experimental Study of the Stability of Laminar Flame. Engineer's thesis, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/6W88-7713.


Knowledge of laminar flame front structure is insufficient to make exact stability calculations possible. The analysis of Landau(1) indicated flame front instability under all conditions. Semi-empirical corrections to Landau's result by Markstein(2) demonstrated that a cellular flame front structure that Markstein observed experimentally might be a stable configuration. Karlovitz(3) has proposed that there is a significant additional amount of turbulence produced in turbulent flames over that found in the upstream flow. Of particular significance is the question of whether or not a flame may take on a turbulent structure in the absence of upstream turbulence. Therefore explorations concerning the conditions under which a laminar flame might become unstable were undertaken by burning premixed propane and air using a spherical flame holder. The resulting conical flame had annular waves develop in the flame front a short distance downstream from the flame holder. This distance decreased as fuel-air ratio was decreased and as gas mixture flow velocity increased. Lean high velocity flames showed a parallel result in the amplitude of the wave formed - the wave in this case developing to a large amplitude in a short distance with a tendency to roll up. Another result of the investigation was that a fairly uniform wavelength of 0.27 in. was observed even though mixture, flame holder size and flow rate were varied. The introduction of a small external turbulence source upstream of the flame front disturbed the flame - the amount of disturbance increasing with Reynolds' number of the turbulence source and with fuel-air equivalence ratio.

Item Type:Thesis (Engineer's thesis)
Subject Keywords:Aeronautical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Marble, Frank E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1953
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-04222003-101645
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1446
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:22 Apr 2003
Last Modified:17 May 2023 22:57

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