Coupled pulsating and cellular structure in the propagation of globally planar detonations in free space

Wenhu Han, Yang Gao, Cheng Wang, Chung King Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The globally planar detonation in free space is numerically simulated, with particular interest to understand and quantify the emergence and evolution of the onedimensional pulsating instability and the two-dimensional cellular structure which is inherently also affected by pulsating instability. It is found that the pulsation includes three stages: rapid decay of the overdrive, approach to the Chapman-Jouguet state and emergence of weak pulsations, and the formation of strong pulsations; while evolution of the cellular structure also exhibits distinct behavior at these three stages: no cell formation, formation of small-scale, irregular cells, and formation of regular cells of a larger scale. Furthermore, the average shock pressure in the detonation front consists of fine-scale oscillations reflecting the collision dynamics of the triple-shock structure and large-scale oscillations affected by the global pulsation. The common stages of evolution between the cellular structure and the pulsating behavior, as well as the existence of shock-front pressure oscillation, suggest highly correlated mechanisms between them. Detonations with period doubling, period quadrupling, and chaotic amplitudes were also observed and studied for progressively increasing activation energies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106101
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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