Flash-back, blow-off, and symmetry breaking of premixed conical flames

Christopher M. Douglas, Wolfgang Polifke, Lutz Lesshafft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hydrodynamic and thermal-diffusive effects subject premixed flames to intrinsic instabilities that strongly influence their shape and propagation/stabilization characteristics. However, the interaction and coupling of intrinsic flame dynamics with background flow gradients and boundary conditions remain poorly understood. This paper presents a global nonlinear bifurcation analysis of burner-stabilized laminar premixed conical flames with varying reaction rates and reactant diffusivities, respectively parameterized by the Damköhler number Da and the Lewis number Le. Using a dimensionless formulation of the reacting, weakly-compressible Navier–Stokes equations, the dynamics of flash-back, blow-off, and cellular instability are explored in a fully-coupled framework. Our analysis identifies steady conical flame states over a finite range of Da and Le, limited by saddle–node bifurcations corresponding to spontaneous blow-off of the axisymmetric flame below a Le-dependent lower critical Da value and spontaneous boundary-layer flash-back beyond a higher critical Da value. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that the conical flame loses its axisymmetry via circle–pitchfork bifurcations as Le or Da decrease or increase beyond respective critical values. These bifurcations are shown to correspond to stationary three-dimensional global modes describing steady polyhedral or tilted flame structures, each associated with distinct azimuthal periodicities. Statement of Significance: This work presents a bifurcation analysis of laminar premixed conical flames within a fully-coupled flame/flow model. By considering variations in reaction rate and reactant diffusivity, the analysis identifies saddle–node bifurcations corresponding to spontaneous flash-back and blow-off of the axisymmetric flame. It also identifies axisymmetry breaking bifurcations associated with transitions to steady three-dimensional polyhedral and tilted flame states. These global instabilities indicate that hydrodynamic and thermal-diffusive effects strongly influence a flame's steady structure in the azimuthal dimension even when no instabilities appear in the plane of symmetry. As such, future analyses of flame dynamics should rule out symmetry-breaking behaviors before adopting a two-dimensional computational framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113060
JournalCombustion and Flame
Volume258
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Bifurcation analysis
  • Blow-off
  • Flash-back
  • Hydrodynamic instability
  • Polyhedral flames
  • Thermal-diffusive instability

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