Numerical computations and optical diagnostics of unsteady partially premixed methane/air flames

K J Nogenmyr, J Kiefer, Z S Li, X S Bai, M Alden

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31 Citations (Scopus)


The structures and dynamics of unsteady laminar partially premixed methane/air Bunsen flames are studied by means of numerical simulations, OH and CH PLIF imaging, and high speed chemiluminescence imaging employing a high framing speed intensified charge coupled device camera. The Bunsen burner has a diameter of 22 mm. Rich methane/air mixtures with an equivalence ratio of 1.5 are injected from the burner into atmosphere at different flow speeds ranging from 0.77 to 1.7 m/s, with Reynolds numbers based on the nozzle flow ranging from I 100 to 2500. The numerical simulations are based on a two-scalar flamelet manifold tabulation approach. Detailed chemistry is used to generate the flamelet manifold tabulation which relates the species concentrations, reaction rates, temperature and density to a distance function G and mixture fraction Z. Two distinct reaction zones are identified using CH and OH PLIF imaging and numerical simulations; one inner reaction zone corresponds to premixed flames on the rich side of the mixture and one outer reaction zone corresponds to mixing controlled diffusion flames on the lean side of the mixture. Under normal gravity conditions both the inner premixed flames and the outer diffusion flames are unsteady. The outer diffusion flames oscillate with a flickering frequency of about 15 Hz, which slightly increases with the burner exit velocity. The inner premixed flames are more random with much more small-scale wrinkling structures. Under zero gravity conditions the outer diffusion flames are stable whereas the inner premixed flames are unstable and highly wrinkled. It appears that the outer diffusion flames are governed by the Rayleigh-Taylor instability whereas the inner premixed flames are dictated by Landau-Darrieus instability. The two-scalar flamelet approach is shown to capture the basic structures and dynamics of the investigated unsteady partially premixed flames. (C) 2009 The Combustion Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-924
Number of pages10
JournalCombustion and Flame
Issue number5
Early online date17 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • partially premixed flames
  • double-flame structure
  • instabilities
  • buoyancy
  • planar laser-induced fluorescence


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