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A Multi-step Reaction Model for Stratified-Charge Combustion in Wave Rotors (Mechanical Project)

Testing of a wave-rotor constant-volume combustor (WRCVC) showed the viability of the application of wave rotors as a pressure gain combustor. The aero-thermal design of the WRCVC rig had originally been performed with a time-dependent, one-dimensional model which applies a single-step reaction model for the combustion process of the air-fuel mixture.

That numerical model was validated with experimental data with respect of matching the flame propagation speed and the pressure traces inside the passages of the WRCVC. However, the numerical model utilized a single progress variable representing the air-fuel mixture, which assumes that fuel and air are perfectly mixed with a uniform concentration; thus, limiting the validity of the model.

In the present work, a two-step reaction model is implemented in the combustion model with four species variables: fuel, oxidant, intermediate and product. This combustion model is developed for a more detailed representation for the combustion process inside the wave rotor. A two-step reaction model presented a more realistic representation for the stratified air-fuel mixture charges in the WRCVC; additionally it shows more realistic modeling for the partial combustion process for rich fuel-air mixtures. The combustion model also accounts for flammability limits to exert flame extinction for non-flammable mixtures. The combustion model applies the eddy-breakup model where the reaction rate is influenced by the turbulence time scale.

The experimental data currently available from the initial testing of the WRCVC rig is utilized to calibrate the model to determine the parameters, which are not directly measured and no directly related practice available in the literature. A prediction of the apparent ignition the location inside the passage is estimated by examination of measurements from the on-rotor instrumentations. The incorporation of circumferential leakage (passage-to-passage), and stand-off ignition models in the numerical model, contributed towards a better match between predictions and experimental data.

The project also includes a comprehensive discussion of the governing equations used in the numerical model. The predictions from the two-step reaction model are validated using experimental data from the WRCVC for deflagrative combustion tests. The predictions matched the experimental data well. The predicted pressure traces are compared with the experimentally measured pressures in the passages. The flame propagation along the passage is also evaluated with ion probes data and the predicted reaction zone.
Source: Purdue University
Author: Elharis, Tarek M.

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