Effects of Spray and Turbulence Modelling on the Mixing and Combustion Characteristics of an n-heptane Spray Flame Simulated with Dynamic Adaptive Chemistry

Zhen Lu, Lei Zhou, Zhuyin Ren, Tianfeng Lu, Chung King Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Accurate modelling of spray combustion process is essential for efficiency improvement and emissions reduction in practical combustion engines. In this work, both unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) simulations and large eddy simulations (LES) are performed to investigate the effects of spray and turbulence modelling on the mixing and combustion characteristics of an n-heptane spray flame in a constant volume chamber at realistic conditions. The non-reacting spray process is first simulated with URANS to investigate the effects of entrainment gas-jet model on the penetration characteristics and fuel vapor distributions. It is found that the droplet motion near the nozzle has significant influence on the fuel vapor distribution, while the liquid penetration length is controlled by the evaporation process and insensitive to gas-jet model. For the case considered, both URANS with the gas-jet model and large eddy simulations can properly predict the vapor penetration. For the combustion characteristics, it is found that LES yields better predictions in the global combustion characteristics. The URANS with gas jet model yields a comparable flame length and lift-off-length (LOL) to LES, but results in a larger ignition delay time compared to the experimental data. Another focus of this work is to qualify the convergence characteristics of the dynamic adaptive chemistry (DAC) method in these transient combustion simulations, where DAC is applied to reduce the mechanism locally and on-the-fly to accelerate chemistry calculations. The instantaneous flame structures and global combustion characteristics such as ignition delay time, flame lift-off length and emissions are compared between simulations with and without DAC. For URANS, good agreements are observed both on instantaneous flame structures and global characteristics. For LES, it is shown that the errors incurred by DAC are small for scatter distributions in composition space and global combustion characteristics, while they may significantly affect instantaneous flame structures in physical space. The study reveals that for DAC application in transient simulations, global or statistic information should be used to assess the accuracy, such as manifolds in composition space, conditional quantities and global combustion characteristics. For the cases investigated, a speed-up factor of more than two is achieved by DAC with a 92-species skeletal mechanism with less than 0.2 % and 3.0 % discrepancy in ignition delay and LOL, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-629
Number of pages21
JournalFlow, Turbulence and Combustion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • Detailed chemical kinetics
  • Dynamic adaptive chemistry
  • Gas jet model
  • Large-eddy simulations
  • Spray flame


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