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Thermal Ignition Using Moving Hot Particles


Coronel, Stephanie Alexandra (2016) Thermal Ignition Using Moving Hot Particles. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9W37T9X.


In this work, ignition of n-hexane-air mixtures was investigated using moving hot spheres of various diameters and surface temperatures. Alumina spheres of 1.8-6 mm diameter were heated using a high power CO2 laser and injected with an average velocity of 2.4 m/s into a premixed n-hexane-air mixture at a nominal initial temperature and pressure of 298 K and 100 kPa, respectively. The 90% probability of ignition using a 6 mm diameter sphere was 1224 K. High-speed experimental visualizations using interferometry indicated that ignition occurred in the vicinity of the separation point in the boundary layer of the sphere when the sphere surface temperature was near the ignition threshold. Additionally, the ignition threshold was found to be insensitive to the mixture composition and showed little variation with sphere diameter.

Numerical simulations of a transient one-dimensional boundary layer using detailed chemistry in a gas a layer adjacent to a hot wall indicated that ignition takes place away from the hot surface; the igniting gas that is a distance away from the surface can overcome diffusive heat losses back to the wall when there is heat release due to chemical activity. Finally, a simple approximation of the thermal and momentum boundary layer profiles indicated that the residence time within a boundary layer varies drastically, for example, a fluid parcel originating at very close to the wall has a residence time that is 65x longer than the residence time of a fluid parcel traveling along the edge of the momentum boundary layer.

A non-linear methodology was developed for the extraction of laminar flame properties from synthetic spherically expanding flames. The results indicated that for accurate measurements of the flame speed and Markstein length, a minimum of 50 points is needed in the data set (flame radius vs. time) and a minimum range of 48 mm in the flame radius. The non-linear methodology was applied to experimental n-hexane-air spherically expanding flames. The measured flame speed was insensitive to the mixture initial pressure from 50 to 100 kPa and increased with increasing mixture initial temperature. One-dimensional freely-propagating flame calculations showed excellent agreement with the experimental flame speeds using the JetSurF and CaltechMech chemical mechanisms.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Combustion, fluid mechanics, optical diagnostics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Shepherd, Joseph E.
Group:GALCIT, Explosion Dynamics Laboratory
Thesis Committee:
  • McKeon, Beverley J. (chair)
  • Austin, Joanna M.
  • Blanquart, Guillaume
  • Shepherd, Joseph E.
Defense Date:26 April 2016
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Boeing Company CT-BA-GTA-1
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06032016-210051818
Persistent URL:
Coronel, Stephanie Alexandra0000-0002-7088-7976
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9844
Deposited By: Stephanie Coronel
Deposited On:07 Jun 2016 02:22
Last Modified:03 Nov 2021 22:13

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