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Microgravity and Multi-phase Combustion Laboratory

Intro block Prof. Yu Cheng Liu's Group at Tsinghua CCE

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Introduction to the laboratory

Welcome to Microgravity and Multi-phase Combustion Laboratory- Prof. Yu Cheng Liu's research group !!!

At the Center for Combustion Energy, the research interests of our group cover a range of combustion and transdisplinary problems. Our goal is to develop useful models with rigorous experimental validations for practical applications. Specfic research topics include:

1) Novel approach for modelling transport, vaporization, and chemical kinetics of complex fuels;

2) Dynamics of partially premixed flames;

3) Single droplet and group combustion processes: ignition, hot flame and cool flame, and mode transitions;

4) Combustion processes in microgravity environments for fundamental theories and space applications;

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Autoignition of isolated single droplets under microgravity

W. Zhang, H. Zhou, Y.C. Liu, "Autoignition regime boundaries for n-heptane droplets under microgravity",  Microgravity Science and Technology 34 (2022) 57. 

This study focuses on the underlying physics and chemistry in the proximity of boundaries that divide different autoignition regimes in the temperature–pressure (T-P) diagram. Transient one-dimensional numerical simulations of single droplet (300 K, mostly 0.75 mm in diameter) combustion under different ambient (T = 600 ~ 1000 K, P = 1 ~ 20 bar) conditions in microgravity were used as the primary tool of investigations. Closed homogenous reactor simulations were used to evaluate the chemistry and equivalence ratio effect on the T-P diagram. In this study, four major boundaries on the T-P diagram were discussed; they are CFUL (Cool Flame Upper Limit), CFLL (Cool Flame Lower Limit), HILL (Hot Ignition Lower Limit) and FLL (Flame Lower Limit). The characteristics and transition mechanisms across these boundaries were investigated. It was found that the CFUL is controlled by the pressure dependent upper turnover temperature with various equivalence ratios. The CFLL is potentially caused by indiscernible two-stage heat release. The HILL describes a droplet size dependent boundary along which chemical time matches vaporization time. The FLL essentially describes the temperature at which low temperature combustion can be sustained during droplet life time

 

Novel modelling method for vaporization complex hydrocarbon fuels

L. Luo, Y.C. Liu, "Variation of gas phase combustion properties of complex fuels during vaporization: comparison for distillation and droplet scenarios," Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 38 (2021) 3287-3294.

Surrogate mixtures for modelling real fuels are formulated based on gaseous combustion property targets and liquid physical properties. A batch distillation model was developed to evaluate the vaporization characteristics of some existing surrogates for Jet-A. Chinese aviation fuel RP-3 was then used as a target to experimentally obtain distillation curves and variation of chemical functional groups. A 24-component surrogate was formulated mainly to capture the distillation behavior of RP-3. This surrogate was then used in two droplet vaporization models (Finite Thermal Conductivity/Finite Diffusivity (FTC/FD), Infinite Thermal Conductivity/Infinite Diffusivity (ITC/ID)) to investigate the effects of preferential vaporization on gaseous combustion properties of a complex real fuel. The results obtained from FTC/FD and ITC/ID provide regional bounds for droplets in a vaporizing spray. Four combustion property targets (Molecular Weight (MW), Hydrogen to Carbon ratio (H/C), Derived Cetane Number (DCN) and Threshold Sooting Index (TSI)) were employed as indicators of gas combustion properties. It was found that due to a wide distribution of compounds’ volatility, gaseous combustion properties vary significantly during droplet vaporization. The results suggest development of vaporization models that well capture preferential vaporization of a target real fuel for further spray modelling.

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L. Luo, Y.C. Liu, "An "artificial" activity coefficient modelling approach for emulating combustion and physical property variations during distillation of real complex fuel", Combustion and Flame 230 (2021) 111446.

       Real complex fuels consist of hundreds of species and hence are difficult to model in numerical simulation. There have been many methods to formulate simple surrogate suite composed of several compounds. While these surrogates emulate gaseous combustion properties with acceptable fidelity, due to insufficient number of surrogate components comprehensive distillation behaviors of simple surrogates exhibit considerable discrepancy compared to that of real complex fuels. In this work, we demonstrated a new methodology for representing complex fuel economically. Firstly, we obtained information about functional group evolution of a complex fuel (Chinese aviation fuel, RP-3) from distillation experiments and formulated a rather complex surrogate mixture. Then, a Functional Group Matching (FGM) method was applied to convert the complex surrogate to a target 4-component surrogate mixture with an “artificial” activity coefficient model (AACM) such that distillation of real complex fuels can be accurately replicated. This “artificial” activity coefficient model was validated in batch distillation simulation in comparison with the complex surrogate with conventional phase equilibrium model (UNIQUAC Functional-group Activity Coefficient (UNIFAC)). Results showed that chemical functional groups, combustion property targets (CPTs) and physical properties (density, surface tension, and dynamic viscosity) during a distillation process of the simple surrogate well represented those of the complex surrogate. Also, the computational efficiency of this 4-component surrogate with AACM method was verified, which was thousands of times faster than 24-component mixture with UNIFAC. The “artificial” activity coefficient model for a simple surrogate mixture therefore contained the most authentic physics from the distillation experiments of a real complex fuel with potential to improve the computational efficiency and to couple with the chemical kinetics mechanisms available to the simple surrogate.

Partially premixed flame behaviors

T. Chen, S. Yu, Y.C. Liu, "Effects of pressure on propagation characteristics of methane-air edge flames within two-dimensional mixing layers: A numerical study", Fuel 301 (2021) 120857.

The effects of pressure on propagation of laminar edge flames were numerically investigated using an OpenFOAM-6 platform developed with multicomponent transport properties. With various equivalence ratio gradients (∇ϕ) as inlet conditions, propagation of non-stationary edge flames in two-dimensional mixing layers at three pressures (0.5 bar, 1.0 bar and 2.0 bar) were studied. The heat release rate increases with increasing pressure and decreases with increasing ∇ϕ due to flame curvature and stretch. The linearity between flame curvature K and ∇ϕ is revealed. The K and slope of this linearity are both larger under high pressure. Flame stretch is dominated by flow strain and flame curvature rather than unsteady flame motion. With increasing ∇ϕ and pressure, stretch rate κ shows increasing feature due to larger curvature and stronger flow strain. The obvious negative linear dependence of local flame speed Sd on κ is revealed under three pressures. The range of Karlovitz number under three pressures are 0.2∼ 1.4, indicating that edge flames are weakly stretched and the linear correlation between Sd and κ could be explained by weakly stretched flame theory. Compared with positive dependence of mass diffusion term Sd d on K, the dominating negative dependence of reaction term Sr d on K leads to negative correlation of Sd with K. Global flame speed UF shows non-monotonic feature with increasing ∇ϕ under three pressures, which is mainly due to non-monotonic upstream velocity reduction Udrop. Flame stretch is important for the shift from critical gradient ∇ϕdc (for maximum Udrop) to smaller ∇ϕFc (for maximum UF) and stronger decreasing feature of UF thanUdrop under large ∇ϕ.

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T. Chen, S. Yu, Y.C. Liu, "Soret effects on the diffusion-chemistry interaction of hydrogen-air edge flames propagating in transverse gradient evolving mixing layers", Fuel 315 (2022) 123014.

The effects of Soret diffusion (SD) on the hydrogen-air edge ame propagation and the diffusion-chemistry interaction are investigated through simulation facilitated by the numerical code MultiDiffFOAM. The edge ames in this study gradually develop from a ame kernel into a tri-brachial structure in a hydrogen-air mixing layer that temporally evolves due to transverse reactant concentration gradient. We demonstrate that the responses of ame displacement speed Sd to ame curvature K, stretch rate  and scalar dissipation rate  are distinctly influenced by SD. For the linear Sd-K and Sd-X correlations, SD would result in a smaller Markstein length. Moreover, SD is shown to lead to shifting of the Sd-X curve towards the regime with larger X. Compared with the weak influences of SD on the tangential diffusion component Sd;t and normal diffusion component Sd;n, the chemical reaction component Sd;r is significantly weakened by SD. The important chemical reactions for edge ame propagation are identified based on sensitivity analysis and their rates are found to be smaller when SD is considered. For the local composition at the ame marker, the mass fraction of H2 is slightly larger and that of H is obviously smaller when SD is considered. The SD flux of H2 jSD H2 and that of H jSDH are both coupled with the driving force grad(lnT) along the mixture fraction coordinate. However, the jSD H2 is mainly concentrated on the unburnt side while the jSD H is on the burnt side. The analyses on decomposed uxes of H2 and H along the flame normal direction further suggest that SD would enhance the H2 mass diusion but weaken the H mass diffusion. Such opposite effects stem from the distribution features that H2 is mainly on the unburnt side while H on the burnt side.

 

 

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T. Chen, S. Yu, Y.C. Liu, "Flow strain and curvature Markstein numbers of edge flame in the counterflow configuration", International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (2022) in press.

Based on the counterflow configuration, the Markstein numbers of one-dimensional pre-mixed flame and two-dimensional edge flame of hydrogen-air system are numerically studied and compared with each other. By varying the inlet velocity and mixing layer thickness, the proportional relationship between flame stretch caused by flow strain (Ka s) and by flame curvature (Ka c) disappears, and therefore two corresponding Markstein numbers Ma s and Ma c at different flame markers (or iso-contours of temperature) within flame front could be obtained through linear fitting between normalized flame displacement speed S * d and bivariate (Ka s ; Ka c). With the flame marker shifting from unburnt to burnt side, Ma c profile of edge flame exhibits a decreasing trend while Ma s profiles of premixed flame and edge flame both display an increasing trend with its sign changing from negative to positive. Moreover, a good agreement of Ma s profiles between two kinds of flames is observed while the discrepancy begins to appear when normalized temperature q !5, which should be attributed to the shift of flame marker from premixed branch into diffusion branch rather than the decrease of heat release rate. The comparison between simulation and theory reveals differences of Ma s values except for 2.5 < q < 4 and those of Ma c values except for q ¼ 2.5, which might be accounted for a moderate Zel'dovich number Ze, i.e. 3.9, based on detailed hydrogen-air chemical mechanism. Therefore, the "larger activation energy" assumed in asymptotic theory may not be valid for hydrogen-air flames whose equivalence ratio is 1.6 in this study.

 

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