Fractal turbulence enhancing low-swirl combustion

Anton A. Verbeek*, Thijs W.F.M. Bouten, Genie G.M. Stoffels, Bernard J. Geurts, Theo H. van der Meer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


The use of fractal grids in a low-swirl burner can significantly increase the turbulent combustion rate, realizing a higher power density in these flames. The standard turbulence generating blocking grid has been replaced by one consisting of a pattern of cruciform structures of different sizes, forming a multi-scale grid derived by truncating an underlying fractal structure. It is shown that the turbulence is intensified when comparing the flow behind the multi-scale grid to the reference situation, where a standard single-scale grid is used. This increase is expressed by more than doubling of the r.m.s. of the velocity fluctuations, while only marginal changes in pressure drop are observed. From the energy spectrum of the velocity it becomes clear that not only the largest scales are more energetic; also smaller scales are introduced as the spectrum is further extended into the high-frequency range. By means of planar OH-LIF the flame geometry was assessed, showing an increase in flame surface density and widening of the flame brush as well as much finer wrinkling of the flame front for the cases involving a multi-scale blocking grid. Here the turbulent flame speed (local consumption speed) is doubled. The grid parameters that were varied are the level of ‘fractality’ and the blockage. For both properties their effect on the flow and combustion are evaluated. The blockage mainly affects the stabilization mechanism, while the level of ‘fractality’ determines the increase in turbulence and combustion rate. Finally, it is shown that the low NOXNOX emission levels that characterize the low-swirl mode of combustion are not affected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-143
Number of pages15
JournalCombustion and flame
Issue number1
Early online date2 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Low-swirl burner
  • Fractal turbulence
  • Low NOx
  • Flame surface density
  • Curvature
  • 2023 OA procedure


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