Flame Structure and Emissions of Strongly-Pulsed Turbulent Diffusion Flames with Swirl
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This work studies the turbulent flame structure, the reaction-zone structure and the exhaust emissions of strongly-pulsed, non-premixed flames with co-flow swirl. The fuel injection is controlled by strongly-pulsing the fuel flow by a fast-response solenoid valve such that the fuel flow is completely shut off between pulses. This control strategy allows the fuel injection to be controlled over a wide range of operating conditions, allowing the flame structure to range from isolated fully-modulated puffs to interacting puffs to steady flames. The swirl level is controlled by varying the ratio of the volumetric flow rate of the tangential air to that of the axial air. For strongly-pulsed flames, both with and without swirl, the flame geometry is strongly impacted by the injection time. Flames appear to exhibit compact, puff-like structures for short injection times, while elongated flames, similar in behaviors to steady flames, occur for long injection times. The flames with swirl are found to be shorter for the same fuel injection conditions. The separation/interaction level between flame puffs in these flames is essentially governed by the jet-off time. The separation between flame puffs decreases as swirl is imposed, consistent with the decrease in flame puff celerity due to swirl. The decreased flame length and flame puff celerity are consistent with an increased rate of air entrainment due to swirl. The highest levels of CO emissions are generally found for compact, isolated flame puffs, consistent with the rapid quenching due to rapid dilution with excess air. The imposition of swirl generally results in a decrease in CO levels, suggesting more rapid and complete fuel/air mixing by imposing swirl in the co-flow stream. The levels of NO emissions for most cases are generally below the steady-flame value. The NO levels become comparable to the steady-flame value for sufficiently short jet-off time. The swirled co-flow air can, in some cases, increase the NO emissions. The elevated NO emissions are due to a longer combustion residence time due to the flow recirculation within the swirl-induced recirculation zone. The reaction zone structure, based on OH planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) is broadly consistent with the observation of luminous flame structure for these types of flames. In many cases, the reaction zone exhibits discontinuities at the instantaneous flame tip in the early period of fuel injection. These discontinuities in the reaction zone likely result from the non-ignition of injected fuel, due to a relatively slower reaction rate in comparison with the mixing rate. The discontinuity in the OH zone is generally seen to diminish with increased swirl level. Statistics generated from the OH PLIF signals show that the reaction zone area generally increases with increased swirl level, consistent with a broader and more convoluted OH-zone structure for flames with swirl. The reaction zone area for swirled flames generally exhibits a higher degree of fluctuation, suggesting a relatively stronger impact of flow turbulence on the flame structure for flames with swirl.