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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Studies of Methane Counterflow Flames at Low Pressures
by Burrell, Robert Roe, Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2017, 109; 10271093
Abstract (Summary)

Methane is the smallest hydrocarbon molecule, the fuel most widely studied in fundamental flame structure studies, and a major component of natural gas. Despite many decades of research into the fundamental chemical kinetics involved in methane oxidation, ongoing advancements in research suggest that more progress can be made. Though practical combustors of industrial and commercial significance operate at high pressures and turbulent flow conditions, fundamental understanding of combustion chemistry in flames is more readily obtained for low pressure and laminar flow conditions.

Measurements were performed from 1 to 0.1 atmospheres for premixed methane/air and non-premixed methane-nitrogen/oxygen flames in a counterflow. Comparative modeling with quasi-one-dimensional strained flame codes revealed bias-induced errors in measured velocities up to 8% at 0.1 atmospheres due to tracer particle phase velocity slip in the low density gas reacting flow. To address this, a numerically-assisted correction scheme consisting of direct simulation of the particle phase dynamics in counterflow was implemented. Addition of reactions describing the prompt dissociation of formyl radicals to an otherwise unmodified USC Mech II kinetic model was found to enhance computed flame reactivity and substantially improve the predictive capability of computed results for measurements at the lowest pressures studied. Yet, the same modifications lead to overprediction of flame data at 1 atmosphere where results from the unmodified USC Mech II kinetic mechanism agreed well with ambient pressure flame data. The apparent failure of a single kinetic model to capture pressure dependence in methane flames motivates continued skepticism regarding the current understanding of pressure dependence in kinetic models, even for the simplest fuels.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Egolfopoulos, Fokion N.
Commitee: Ronnery, Paul D., Shing, Katherine
School: University of Southern California
Department: Mechanical Engineering
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Aerospace engineering, Chemical engineering, Energy
Keywords: Counterflow, Flame extinction, Laminar flame speed, Methane, Non-premixed, Premixed
Publication Number: 10271093
ISBN: 978-1-369-82235-9
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