Characteristics of Pulsating Flows in a Pulse Combustor

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Liewkongsataporn, Wichit
Patterson, Timothy
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Pulsating flows in a Helmholtz pulse combustor tailpipe were numerically simulated by a commercial CFD software package, FLUENT. The effects of ambient temperature on the characteristics of the pulsating tailpipe flows were studied. Two study cases, with high and low levels of ambient temperature, were simulated with compressible flow equations. An additional case, with high ambient temperature, was simulated with incompressible (temperature-dependent density) flow equations. Results showed that the effect of ambient temperature on the mean temperature profile in the tailpipe was limited to the distance where the ambient fluid traveled into the tailpipe during the period of flow reversal. In this region, the amplitude of mass flow rate oscillation significantly increased, due to higher density associated with low ambient temperature. The overall effects of cooler ambient temperature included an increase in mean pressure at the entrance of the tailpipe and a decrease in the magnitude of velocity amplitude profile along the tailpipe. Interestingly, the mean velocities along the tailpipe, even at the tailpipe exit, were not affected by the cooler ambient air. The mean velocity at the exit corresponded to the higher temperature of fresh fluid from upstream, which was not affected by the ambient temperature, driven out of the tailpipe in each oscillation cycle. The linear acoustic theory with appropriate assumptions could be used to calculate the magnitude of the profiles of velocity amplitude along the tailpipe as a fair approximation, at least for the study cases in this thesis.
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