Numerical study of laminar and turbulent flames propagating in a fan-stirred vessel

Abstract : Fossil energy is widely used since the 1900s to satisfy the global increasing energy demand. However, combustion is a process releasing pollutants such as CO2 and NOx. One of the major challenges of the 21th century is to reduce these emissions and car man- ufacturers are involved in this race. To increase fuel efficiency of piston engines, some technical solutions are developed such as ’downsizing‘. It consists in reducing the engine size while maintaining its performances using a turbocharger to increase the trapped mass in the combustion chamber. Unfortunately, downsizing can lead to abnormal com- bustions: intense cycle to cycle variations can appear, the fresh mixture can auto-ignite (ignition before spark-plug ignition) leading to knock or rumble. Large Eddy Simulation has proven to be a reliable tool to predict these abnormal combustions in real engines. However, such computations are performed using models to predict the flame propagation in the combustion chamber. Theses models are generally based on correlations derived in cases where turbulence is assumed to be homogeneous and isotropic. Defining theo- retically or numerically such a turbulence is a simple task but experimentally it is more challenging. This thesis focuses on a apparatus used in most experimental systems: fans stirred vessel. The objective of this work is twofold: 1) characterize the turbulence generated inside the vessel to check wether it is homo- geneous and isotropic or not, 2) finely characterize laminar and turbulent combustion in this setup in order to in- crease the knowledge in this field, and thereby improve models used. First, a laminar flame propagation study has been conducted to address both confine- ment and curvature effects on the laminar flame speed in a spherical configuration. The main difficulty to perform the simulation of the whole configuration consists in finding a numerical method able to compute accurately the flow generated by one fan and able to handle six fans simultaneously too. Two numerical methodologies have been tested. First an Immersed Boundaries method was implemented. Despite good results obtained on academic test cases, this method was shown to be unadapted to compute accurately the flow generated by one fan. On the other hand, a numerical approach, coming from turbomachinery calculations and based on code coupling (called MISCOG), demonstrates its ability to do it and it is used to compute the flow generated by the six fans inside the closed vessel. Non-reacting flow is first analyzed and reveals a zone at the vessel center of around 6 cm of diameter where mean velocity is near zero and turbulence is almost homogeneous and isotropic. After that, the premixed fresh mixture is ignited depositing a hot gases kernel at the vessel center and the turbulent propagation phase is analyzed. In particular, it is shown that the amount of energy deposited at ignition is a critical parameter.
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Adrien Bonhomme. Numerical study of laminar and turbulent flames propagating in a fan-stirred vessel. Reactive fluid environment. INP DE TOULOUSE, 2014. English. ⟨tel-01227800⟩

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