Kinetic-hydrodynamic instability interactions in near blowoff bluff body flames

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Manosh Kumar, Raghul
Lieuwen, Timothy C.
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This work examines the dynamics of confined bluff body flames in the process of lean blowoff (LBO) using simultaneous stereo-PIV (particle image velocimetry), OH PLIF (planar laser induced fluorescence) and CH2O PLIF. Flames at high density ratios blow off in at least two distinct stages: stage 1, where intermittent extinction occurs along the flame front, but the flame and flow remain qualitatively similar to stable conditions, and stage 2, where there is permanent downstream flame extinction and large-scale changes in dynamic flow characteristics. This work particularly focuses on stage 2 processes, with the goal of understanding what ultimately leads to irrecoverable flame blowoff. A new test facility was developed with the operational flexibility to achieve two goals: (1) approach LBO by keeping the parameters that influence its hydrodynamic stability approximately constant, particularly flow velocity (u_bulk) and gas expansion ratio (σ), and (2) compare near-LBO dynamics under conditions where, well away from blowoff, the flame is globally stable (high σ case) and globally unstable (low σ case, where the Bénard-Von Karman (BVK) instability of the flow is present). The latter case was of particular interest as most prior detailed diagnostic studies of LBO have been performed at high σ, BVK-suppressed conditions. We find, however, that the transient blowoff process remains largely unchanged in the high and low σ cases, presumably because the BVK instability reappears in either case under conditions very close to LBO. In all cases, blowoff is preceded by permanent downstream extinction that moves progressively closer to the bluff body as LBO is approached. We find that blowoff dynamics are intrinsically 3D, due to both secondary instabilities of the shear layer and confinement effects associated with bluff body-wall interactions. These 3D structures often manifest themselves as burning reactant fingers which are caught in the backflow of the recirculation zone; under very near LBO conditions they impinge on the back of the bluff body and extinguish. At the very edge of blowoff, the recirculation zone is no longer composed of hot products and is unable to autoignite the oncoming reactant flow, leading to global extinction. The characteristic time associated with this feedback between downstream extinction and wake structure alteration causing blowoff is about 2 orders of magnitude larger than the characteristic flow time, D/u_bulk.
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