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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2020

Alain Fossi, Alain DeChamplain, Benjamin Akih-Kumgeh and Jeffrey Bergthorson

This study aims to deal with the large eddy simulation (LES) of an ignition sequence and the resulting steady combustion in a swirl-stabilized liquid-fueled combustor…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to deal with the large eddy simulation (LES) of an ignition sequence and the resulting steady combustion in a swirl-stabilized liquid-fueled combustor. Particular attention is paid to the ease of handling the numerical tool, the accuracy of the results and the reasonable computational cost involved. The primary aim of the study is to appraise the ability of the newly developed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methodology to retrieve the spark-based flame kernel initiation, its propagation until the full ignition of the combustion chamber, the flame stabilization and the combustion processes governing the steady combustion regime.

Design/methodology/approach

The CFD model consists of an LES-based spray module coupled to a subgrid-scale ignition model to capture the flame kernel initiation and the early stage of the flame kernel growth, and a combustion model based on the mixture fraction-progress variable formulation in the line of the flamelet generated manifold (FGM) method to retrieve the subsequent flame propagation and combustion properties. The LES-spray module is based on an Eulerian-Lagrangian approach and includes a fully two-way coupling at each time step to account for the interactions between the liquid and the gaseous phases. The Wall-Adapting Local Eddy-viscosity (WALE) model is used for the flow field while the eddy diffusivity model is used for the scalar fluxes. The fuel is liquid kerosene, injected in the form of a polydisperse spray of droplets. The spray dynamics are tracked using the Lagrangian procedure, and the phase transition of droplets is calculated using a non-equilibrium evaporation model. The oxidation mechanism of the Jet A-1 surrogate is described through a reduced reaction mechanism derived from a detailed mechanism using a species sensitivity method.

Findings

By comparing the numerical results with a set of published data for a swirl-stabilized spray flame, the proposed CFD methodology is found capable of capturing the whole spark-based ignition sequence in a liquid-fueled combustion chamber and the main flame characteristics in the steady combustion regime with reasonable computing costs.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed CFD methodology simulates the whole ignition sequence, namely, the flame kernel initiation, its propagation to fully ignite the combustion chamber, and the global flame stabilization. Due to the lack of experimental ignition data on this liquid-fueled configuration, the ability of the proposed CFD methodology to accurately predict ignition timing was not quantitatively assessed. It would, therefore, be interesting to apply this CFD methodology to other configurations that have experimental ignition data, to quantitatively assess its ability to predict the ignition timing and the flame characteristics during the ignition sequence. Such further investigations will not only provide further validation of the proposed methodology but also will potentially identify its shortfalls for better improvement.

Practical implications

This CFD methodology is developed by customizing a commercial CFD code widely used in the industry. It is, therefore, directly applicable to practical configurations, and provides not only a relatively straightforward approach to predict an ignition sequence in liquid-fueled combustion chambers but also a robust way to predict the flame characteristics in the steady combustion regime as significant improvements are noticed on the prediction of slow species.

Originality/value

The incorporation of the subgrid ignition model paired with a combustion model based on tabulated chemistry allows reducing computational costs involved in the simulation of the ignition phase. The incorporation of the FGM-based tabulated chemistry provides a drastic reduction of computing resources with reasonable accuracy. The CFD methodology is developed using the platform of a commercial CFD code widely used in the industry for relatively straightforward applicability.

Details

International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0961-5539

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Alain Fossi, Alain DeChamplain and Benjamin Akih-Kumgeh

The purpose of this paper is to numerically investigate the three-dimensional (3D) reacting turbulent two-phase flow field of a scaled swirl-stabilized gas turbine…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to numerically investigate the three-dimensional (3D) reacting turbulent two-phase flow field of a scaled swirl-stabilized gas turbine combustor using the commercial computational fluid dynamic (CFD) software ANSYS FLUENT. The first scope of the study aims to explicitly compare the predictive capabilities of two turbulence models namely Unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes and Scale Adaptive Simulation for a reasonable trade-off between accuracy of results and global computational cost when applied to simulate swirl-stabilized spray combustion. The second scope of the study is to couple chemical reactions to the turbulent flow using a realistic chemistry model and also to model the local chemical non-equilibrium(NEQ) effects caused by turbulent strain such as flame stretching.

Design/methodology/approach

Standard Eulerian and Lagrangian formulations are used to describe both gaseous and liquid phases, respectively. The computing method includes a two-way coupling in which phase properties and spray source terms are interchanging between the two phases within each coupling time step. The fuel used is liquid jet-A1 which is injected in the form of a polydisperse spray and the droplet evaporation rate is calculated using the infinite conductivity model. One-component (n-decane) and two-component fuels (n-decane+toluene) are used as jet-A1 surrogates. The combustion model is based on the mean mixture fraction and its variance, and a presumed-probability density function is used to model turbulent-chemistry interactions. The instantaneous thermochemical state necessary for the chemistry tabulation is determined by using initially the equilibrium (EQ) assumption and thereafter, detailed NEQ calculations through the steady flamelets concept. The combustion chemistry of these surrogates is represented through a reduced chemical kinetic mechanism (CKM) comprising 1,045 reactions among 139 species, derived from the detailed jet-A1 surrogate model, JetSurf 2.0 using a sensitivity based method, Alternate Species Elimination.

Findings

Numerical results of the gas velocity, the gas temperature and the species molar fractions are compared with their experimental counterparts obtained from a steady state flame available in the literature. It is observed that, SAS coupled to the tabulated flamelet-based chemistry, predicts reasonably the main flame trends, while URANS even provided with the same combustion model and computing resources, leads to a poor prediction of the global flame trends, emphasizing the asset of a proper resolution when simulating spray flames.

Research limitations/implications

The steady flamelet model even coupled with a robust turbulence model does not reproduce accurately the trend of species with slow oxidation kinetics such as CO and H2, because of the restrictiveness of the solutions space of flamelet equations and the assumption of unity Lewis for all species.

Practical implications

This work is adding a contribution for spray flame modeling and can be seen as an extension to the significant efforts for the modeling of gaseous flames using robust turbulence models coupled with the tabulated flamelet-based chemistry approach to considerably reduce computing cost. The exclusive use of a commercial CFD code widely used in the industry allows a direct application of this simulation approach to industrial configurations while keeping computing cost reasonable.

Originality/value

This study is useful to engineers interested in designing combustors of gas turbines and others combustion systems fed with liquid fuels.

Details

International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0961-5539

Keywords

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