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Jet Initiation of Deflagration and Detonation


Krok, James Christopher (1997) Jet Initiation of Deflagration and Detonation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/PSTR-T717.


We have constructed a facility for the study of jet-initiated deflagration and detonation in hydrogen-air-steam mixtures. The facility is built around two pressure vessels. Mixtures of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are spark-ignited in the driver vessel, generating a hot mixture of combustion products. The pressure rise ruptures a diaphragm, venting the products into the receiver vessel through nozzles of 12.7-92 mm diameter. The receiver is filled with hydrogen-air and hydrogen-oxygen mixtures diluted with either nitrogen or steam.

The deflagration tests studied the lean and maximum-dilution limits of hydrogen-air mixtures ignited by a hydrogen-steam jet. The lean limit of 6% hydrogen was comparable to other studies. The maximum dilution limit for steam was 60%. This is higher than the limit found in spark/glow plug ignition experiments. Shock oscillations in the receiver increased with nozzle size.

Further tests studied the initiation of detonation in both hydrogen-air and stoichiometric hydrogen-oxygen-diluent mixtures. In terms of jet diameter, D, and receiver detonation cell size, λ, we found initiation limits of 2 < D/λ < 7, where other experiments required a D/λ of 11 or more. We propose that the D/λ model does not adequately characterize jet initiation, as it does not reflect the conditions in the driver.

The tests indicated that shock focusing plays an important role, promoting strong secondary explosions with or without prompt initiation of detonation. Mixtures with steam dilution were prone to DDT near the detonation limit, as the slower flame speed allows shock reflection and pressurization to occur before the reactants are consumed. Tests with nitrogen dilution had no DDT regime. Because of DDT and shock focusing, peak pressures were highest in mixtures that were slightly less sensitive than the detonation threshold. Schlieren movies confirmed the formation of a detonation near the nozzle exit.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Aeronautics and Geology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Minor Option:Geology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Shepherd, Joseph E.
Group:GALCIT, Explosion Dynamics Laboratory
Thesis Committee:
  • Hornung
  • Ravichandran
  • Meiron
  • Kirschvink
  • Shepherd
Defense Date:14 May 1997
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11122003-181337
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4529
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:13 Nov 2003
Last Modified:15 Jan 2021 22:23

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