Damköhler number scaling of active cascade effects in turbulent premixed combustion

Jonathan F. Macart, Michael E. Mueller

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7 Scopus citations


Effects of combustion heat release on turbulent velocity and scalar statistics are investigated as a function of the Damköhler number using three direct numerical simulation databases of spatially developing turbulent premixed jet flames. At low Karlovitz numbers, where heat-release effects dominate turbulent kinetic energy budgets, their relative significance scales with the integral Damköhler number in a priori Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) statistics and the filter Damköhler number in Large Eddy Simulation (LES). The Damköhler-number scaling of counter-gradient transport in this regime follows theoretical arguments underpinning linear-algebraic turbulence models, which explains their efficacy at low Karlovitz numbers. Conversely, at moderate Karlovitz numbers, LES subfilter turbulence is more strongly influenced by heat-release effects than the analogous large-scale RANS turbulence. This is consistent with the notion of an "active cascade,"which postulates that heat-release-induced volumetric expansion competes on intermediate scales with classical forward-cascade energy transfer. LES exposes these dynamics as dominant subfilter-scale physics, unlike in RANS, where they are secondary to the effects of mean-shear production at the large scales. The significance of subfilter-scale interactions is promoted by the LES filter itself, which modifies the RANS spectral basis by incorporating local flame-normal averaging. This is highlighted by comparing LES fields obtained using a 3D filter to those using a modified 2D filter, excluding the flame-normal direction, which significantly reduces the apparent influence of heat-release effects but is not representative of LES in practice. The subfilter modeling challenges posed by these distinctions at moderate Karlovitz numbers and order-unity Damköhler numbers remain to be understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035103
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

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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