Numerical simulations of microgravity ethylene/air laminar boundary layer diffusion flames

Jorge Contreras, Jean Louis Consalvi, Andrés Fuentes

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6 Scopus citations


Microgravity ethylene/air laminar boundary layer diffusion flames were studied numerically. Two oxidizer velocities of 250 and 300 mm/s and three fuel injection velocities of 3, 4, and 5 mm/s were considered. A detailed gas-phase reaction mechanism, which includes aromatic chemistry up to four rings, was used. Soot kinetics was modeled by using a pyrene-based model including the mechanisms of nucleation, heterogeneous surface growth and oxidation following the hydrogen-abstraction acetylene-addition (HACA) mechanism, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) surface condensation and soot particle coagulation. Radiative heat transfer from CO, CO2, H2O and soot was calculated using the discrete ordinate method (DOM) coupled to a wide-band correlated-k model. Model predictions are in quantitative agreement with the available experimental data. Model results show that H and OH radicals, responsible for the dehydrogenation of sites in the HACA process, and pyrene, responsible for soot nucleation and PAH condensation, are located in a thin region that follows the stand-off distance. Soot is produced in this region and, then, is transported inside the boundary layer by convection and thermophoresis. The combustion efficiency is significantly lower than 1 and is reduced as the flow residence time increasing, confirming that these sooting micro-gravity diffusion flames are characterized by radiative quenching at the flame trailing edge. In particular, this quenching phenomenon explains the increase in flame length with the oxidizer velocity observed in previous experimental studies. The effects of using approximate radiative-property models, namely the optically-thin approximation and gray approximations for soot and combustion gases, were assessed. It was found that the re-absorption and the spectral dependence of combustion gases and soot must be taken into account to predict accurately temperature, soot volume fraction, flame geometry and flame quenching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Laminar boundary layer diffusion flame
  • Microgravity
  • Radiative property models
  • Radiative quenching
  • Soot production


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