Hysteresis and transition in swirling nonpremixed flames

M.J. Tummers, A.W. Hübner, E.H. van Veen, K. Hanjalic, Theodorus H. van der Meer

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    Strongly swirling nonpremixed flames are known to exhibit a hysteresis when transiting from an attached long, sooty, yellow flame to a short lifted blue flame, and vice versa. The upward transition (by increasing the air and fuel flow rates) corresponds to a vortex breakdown, i.e. an abrupt change from an attached swirling flame (unidirectional or with a weak bluff-body recirculation), to a lifted flame with a strong toroidal vortex occupying the bulk of the flame. Despite dramatic differences in their structures, mixing intensities and combustion performance, both flame types can be realised at identical flow rates, equivalence ratio and swirl intensity. We report here on comprehensive investigations of the two flame regimes at the same conditions in a well-controlled experiment in which the swirl was generated by the rotating outer pipe of the annular burner air passage. Fluid velocity measured with PIV (particle image velocimetry), the qualitative detection of reaction zones from OH PLIF (planar laser-induced fluorescence) and the temperature measured by CARS (coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy) revealed major differences in vortical structures, turbulence, mixing and reaction intensities in the two flames. We discuss the transition mechanism and arguments for the improved mixing, compact size and a broader stability range of the blue flame in comparison to the long yellow flame.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)447-459
    JournalCombustion and flame
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Swirling nonpremixed flame
    • IR-80123
    • Turbulent combustion

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