n-Butanol droplet combustion: Numerical modeling and reduced gravity experiments

Published on Jan 1, 2015
· DOI :10.1016/j.proci.2014.06.043
Fahd E. Alam4
Estimated H-index: 4
(USC: University of South Carolina),
Yu Cheng Liu11
Estimated H-index: 11
(Cornell University)
+ 2 AuthorsTanvir Farouk18
Estimated H-index: 18
(USC: University of South Carolina)
Abstract Recent interest in alternative and bio-derived fuels has emphasized butanol over ethanol as a result of its higher energy density, lower vapor pressure and more favorable gasoline blending properties. Numerous efforts have examined the combustion of butanol from the perspective of low dimensional gas-phase transport configurations that facilitate modeling and validation of combustion kinetics. However, fewer studies have focused on multiphase butanol combustion, and none have appeared on isolated droplet combustion that couples experiments with robust modeling of the droplet burning process. This paper presents such an experimental/numerical modeling study of isolated droplet burning characteristics of n -butanol. The experiments are conducted in an environment that simplifies the transport process to one that is nearly one-dimensional as promoted by burning in a reduced gravity environment. Measurements of the evolution of droplet diameter ( D o  = 0.56–0.57 mm), flame standoff ratio ( FSR  ≡  D f / D ) and burning rate ( K ) are made in the standard atmosphere under reduced gravity and the data are compared against numerical simulation. The detailed model is based on a comprehensive time-dependent, sphero-symmetric droplet combustion simulation that includes spectrally resolved radiative heat transfer, multi-component diffusive transport, full thermal property variations and detailed chemical kinetic. The simulations are carried out using both a large order kinetic mechanism (284 species, 1892 reactions) and a reduced order mechanism (44 species, 177 reactions). The results show that the predicted burning history and flame standoff ratios are in good agreement with the measurements for both the large and reduced order mechanisms. Additional simulations are conducted for varying oxygen concentration to determine the limiting oxygen index and to elucidate the kinetic processes that dictate the extinction of the flame at these low oxygen concentrations.
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