skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Spark Ignited Turbulent Flame Kernel Growth

Abstract

An experimental study of the effects of spark power and of incomplete fuel-air mixing on spark-ignited flame kernel growth was conducted in turbulent propane-air mixtures at 1 atm, 300K conditions. The results showed that increased spark power resulted in an increased growth rate, where the effect of short duration breakdown sparks was found to persist for times of the order of milliseconds. The effectiveness of increased spark power was found to be less at high turbulence and high dilution conditions. Increased spark power had a greater effect on the 0-5 mm burn time than on the 5-13 mm burn time, in part because of the effect of breakdown energy on the initial size of the flame kernel. And finally, when spark power was increased by shortening the spark duration while keeping the effective energy the same there was a significant increase in the misfire rate, however when the spark power was further increased by increasing the breakdown energy the misfire rate dropped to zero. The results also showed that fluctuations in local mixture strength due to incomplete fuel-air mixing cause the flame kernel surface to become wrinkled and distorted; and that the amount of wrinkling increases as the degree ofmore » incomplete fuel-air mixing increases. Incomplete fuel-air mixing was also found to result in a significant increase in cyclic variations in the flame kernel growth. The average flame kernel growth rates for the premixed and the incompletely mixed cases were found to be within the experimental uncertainty except for the 33%-RMS-fluctuation case where the growth rate was significantly lower. The premixed and 6%-RMS-fluctuation cases had a 0% misfire rate. The misfire rates were 1% and 2% for the 13%-RMS-fluctuation and 24%-RMS-fluctuation cases, respectively; however, it drastically increased to 23% in the 33%-RMS-fluctuation case.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE) (US)
OSTI Identifier:
6605
DOE Contract Number:
FG04-90AL62353
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1 Jun 1995
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; 33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; SPARK IGNITION ENGINES; FLAMES; FLUCTUATIONS; TURBULENT FLOW; FUEL-AIR RATIO; PROPANE; FLAME PROPAGATION

Citation Formats

Santavicca, D.A. Spark Ignited Turbulent Flame Kernel Growth. United States: N. p., 1995. Web. doi:10.2172/6605.
Santavicca, D.A. Spark Ignited Turbulent Flame Kernel Growth. United States. doi:10.2172/6605.
Santavicca, D.A. 1995. "Spark Ignited Turbulent Flame Kernel Growth". United States. doi:10.2172/6605. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/6605.
@article{osti_6605,
title = {Spark Ignited Turbulent Flame Kernel Growth},
author = {Santavicca, D.A.},
abstractNote = {An experimental study of the effects of spark power and of incomplete fuel-air mixing on spark-ignited flame kernel growth was conducted in turbulent propane-air mixtures at 1 atm, 300K conditions. The results showed that increased spark power resulted in an increased growth rate, where the effect of short duration breakdown sparks was found to persist for times of the order of milliseconds. The effectiveness of increased spark power was found to be less at high turbulence and high dilution conditions. Increased spark power had a greater effect on the 0-5 mm burn time than on the 5-13 mm burn time, in part because of the effect of breakdown energy on the initial size of the flame kernel. And finally, when spark power was increased by shortening the spark duration while keeping the effective energy the same there was a significant increase in the misfire rate, however when the spark power was further increased by increasing the breakdown energy the misfire rate dropped to zero. The results also showed that fluctuations in local mixture strength due to incomplete fuel-air mixing cause the flame kernel surface to become wrinkled and distorted; and that the amount of wrinkling increases as the degree of incomplete fuel-air mixing increases. Incomplete fuel-air mixing was also found to result in a significant increase in cyclic variations in the flame kernel growth. The average flame kernel growth rates for the premixed and the incompletely mixed cases were found to be within the experimental uncertainty except for the 33%-RMS-fluctuation case where the growth rate was significantly lower. The premixed and 6%-RMS-fluctuation cases had a 0% misfire rate. The misfire rates were 1% and 2% for the 13%-RMS-fluctuation and 24%-RMS-fluctuation cases, respectively; however, it drastically increased to 23% in the 33%-RMS-fluctuation case.},
doi = {10.2172/6605},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1995,
month = 6
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • Cyclic combustion variations in spark-ignition engines limit the use of dilute charge strategies for achieving low NO{sub x} emissions and improved fuel economy. Results from an experimental study of the effect of incomplete fuel-air mixing (ifam) on spark-ignited flame kernel growth in turbulent propane-air mixtures are presented. The experiments were conducted in a turbulent flow system that allows for independent variation of flow parameters, ignition system parameters, and the degree of fuel-air mixing. Measurements were made at 1 atm and 300 K conditions. Five cases were studied; a premixed and four incompletely mixed cases with 6%, 13%, 24% and 33%more » RMS (root-mean-square) fluctuations in the fuel/air equivalence ratio. High speed laser shadowgraphy at 4,000 frames-per-second was used to record flame kernel growth following spark ignition, from which the equivalent flame kernel radius as a function of time was determined. The effect of ifam was evaluated in terms of the flame kernel growth rate, cyclic variations in the flame kernel growth, and the rate of misfire. The results show that fluctuations in local mixture strength due to ifam cause the flame kernel surface to become wrinkled and distorted; and that the amount of wrinkling increases as the degree of ifam. Ifam was also found to result in a significant increase in cyclic variations in the flame kernel growth. The average flame kernel growth rates for the premixed and the incompletely mixed cases were found to be within the experimental uncertainty except for the 33%-RMS-fluctuation case where the growth rate is significantly lower. The premixed and 6%-RMS-fluctuation cases had a 0% misfire rate. The misfire rates were 1% and 2% for the 13%-RMS-fluctuation and 24%-RMS-fluctuation cases, respectively; however, it drastically increased to 23% in the 33%-RMS-fluctuation case.« less
  • An experimental study of the effect of spark power on the growth rate of spark-ignited flame kernels was conducted in a turbulent flow system at 1 atm, 300 K conditions. All measurements were made with premixed, propane-air at a fuel/air equivalence ratio of 0.93, with 0%, 8% or 14% dilution. Two flow conditions were studied: a low turbulence intensity case with a mean velocity of 1.25 m/sec and a turbulence intensity of 0.33 m/sec, and a high turbulence intensity case with a mean velocity of 1.04 m/sec and a turbulence intensity of 0.88 m/sec. The growth of the spark-ignited flamemore » kernel was recorded over a time interval from 83 {mu}sec to 20 msec following the start of ignition using high speed laser shadowgraphy. In order to evaluate the effect of ignition spark power, tests were conducted with a long duration (ca 4 msec) inductive discharge ignition system with an average spark power of ca 14 watts and two short duration (ca 100 nsec) breakdown ignition systems with average spark powers of ca 6 {times} 10{sup 4} and ca 6 {times} 10{sup 5} watts. The results showed that increased spark power resulted in an increased growth rate, where the effect of short duration breakdown sparks was found to persist for times of the order of milliseconds. The effectiveness of increased spark power was found to be less at high turbulence and high dilution conditions. Increased spark power had a greater effect on the 0--5 mm burn time than on the 5--13 mm burn time, in part because of the effect of breakdown energy on the initial size of the flame kernel. And finally, when spark power was increased by shortening the spark duration while keeping the effective energy the same there was a significant increase in the misfire rate, however when the spark power was further increased by increasing the breakdown energy the misfire rate dropped to zero.« less
  • The chemistry-turbulence interaction remains one of the most important topics in combustion research. The ignition of premixed reactants in a highly turbulent environment is fundamentally coupled to this chemistry-turbulence interaction. The spark-ignition (SI) internal combustion (IC) engine relies on the ability of the flame kernel to survive the high-strain-rate, unsteady environment of a turbulent flowfield and successfully transition into a fully developed flame to operate cleanly and efficiently. If certain length and velocity scales within the turbulence spectrum are found to promote flame kernel growth, then by tailoring the flow passages and aerodynamics of the intake valves, piston, and combustionmore » chamber, it may be possible to increase the efficiency and reduce the emissions of SI IC engines. This paper describes a novel experimental investigation of a spark-generated flame kernel interacting with a single vortex toroid with well-defined length and velocity scales. This experiment measured the ability of a vortex to quench a growing kernel in a very lean methane-air mixture at atmospheric pressure. The absence of superequilibrium OH concentrations, qualitatively determined by planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF), was used as in indicator of quenching. It was found that larger eddies are more effective at globally quenching the flamefront, requiring a lower strength, when compared to vortices with a smaller characteristic length. At the globally quenching condition, the maturity of the kernel was then increased incrementally until the vortex was no longer able to completely strain out the kernel. The result of this was surprising in that the larger vortices had a much narrower range of kernel maturity for which the vortex could still quench the growing kernel.« less
  • The intent of this thesis was to characterize the effects of dilution, turbulence, and ignition system power on early flame kernel growth, and its cycle-to-cycle variations. The experiments were conducted in a turbulent flow reactor capable of supplying a propane-air mixture with an equivalence ratio of 1.0, and nitrogen dilutions of 0% and 15% by volume. The effects of turbulence were characterized using a constant mean flow of 1.25 m/s with two turbulence intensities, 24% and 77% of the mean flow. The total ignition energy of the experiment was held at approximately 60 mJ. However, the power level and consequentlymore » the duration of the spark was varied. The results showed that the cycle-to-cycle variations experienced by the flame kernel can be reduced by choosing an appropriate ignition system. For mixtures with high turbulence levels, faster and more repeatable growth rates were observed with an enhanced breakdown ignition system. However, for low turbulence mixtures, an inductive ignition system, even though possessing a slower growth rate than the enhanced breakdown system, showed fewer cycle-to-cycle variations. 34 refs.« less
  • Short communication.