Effects of inter-pulse coupling on nanosecond pulsed high frequency discharge ignition in a flowing mixture

Xingqian Mao, Hongtao Zhong, Ziyu Wang, Timothy Ombrello, Yiguang Ju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This work numerically investigates the effects of non-equilibrium nanosecond plasma discharge pulse repetition frequency, pulse number, and flow velocity on the critical ignition volume, minimum ignition energy, and chemistry in a plasma-assisted H2/air flow at 300 K and 1 atm using a multi-scale adaptive reduced chemistry solver for plasma assisted combustion (MARCS-PAC). The interactions between discharges/ignition kernels spanning decoupled, partially-coupled and fully-coupled regimes in a pulse train are studied. For a single pulse discharge, increased flow velocity increases the minimum ignition energy required due to the increase of convective heat loss and flame stretch. The results show that the minimum ignition kernel propagation speed at the critical ignition kernel volume increases with the flow velocity. The minimum critical ignition volume decreases with the increase of plasma discharge energy. For sequential two-pulse discharges, ignition fails at both decoupled and partially-coupled regimes even when the total discharge energy is above the minimum ignition energy, but succeeds only in the fully-coupled regime at a shorter inter-pulse time. Overlap of the OH radical pool between the sequential two-pulse discharges and the increase of the chemistry effect due to the increase of reduced electric field in the fully-coupled regime contribute to the ignition enhancement. In addition, for two-pulse discharges in the fully-coupled discharge regime, the mixture can be ignited at a total energy below the minimum ignition energy of a single pulse with the same flow conditions. Moreover, for a given total discharge energy with multiple pulsed discharges, the enhancement of the ignition kernel volume has a non-monotonic dependence on discharge frequency and pulse number. The effective ignition enhancement can be achieved with an optimal pulse repetition frequency and pulse number. This work provides a new understanding of the mechanism for repetitive plasma ignition and insights for the optimization of plasma ignition in a reactive flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5457-5464
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • Inter-pulse coupling
  • Minimum ignition energy
  • Minimum ignition volume
  • Nanosecond pulsed high frequency discharge
  • Plasma assisted ignition


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