Flame dynamics in oscillating flows under autoignitive conditions

Sili Deng, Peng Zhao, Michael Edward Mueller, Chung King Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The structure and dynamics of laminar nonpremixed dimethyl ether (DME)/air coflow flames were investigated at elevated temperatures and pressures. Computations with detailed chemistry were performed for DME and heated coflow air at 30 atm with uniform but sinusoidally oscillating inlet velocities. These unsteady cases were compared with the steady results from Deng et al. (2015)[14] to elucidate the effect of oscillation frequency on the flame dynamics. To benchmark the unsteady cases, a normalized displacement velocity was defined to differentiate flame propagation from autoignition, and this definition was validated against the steady cases. In the oscillating reacting flow, transition between a multibrachial autoignition front and a tribrachial flame occurs periodically. However, unlike the harmonic velocity oscillation, the combustion mode transition is hysteretic. The oscillation cycle starts with the largest inlet velocity, with the multibrachial thermal structure, located downstream, being governed by autoignition chemistry. As flow velocity decreases, the autoignition front moves upstream and transitions to a tribrachial flame near the lower velocity limit, similar to the steady flow, as autoignition chemistry becomes weaker with decreasing upstream residence time. As the flow velocity increases again, the tribrachial flame is convected downstream, and, ultimately, due to the radical and heat accumulation in time, autoignition eventually occurs and becomes the dominant pathway. The finite induction time for autoignition results in the hysteretic behavior during the decreasing- and increasing-velocity cycles, which diminishes at lower oscillation frequency as there is more time for chemistry to respond to the hydrodynamic changes and consequently approach steady state. At the relatively low oscillation frequencies investigated in the current study, first-stage NTC chemistry is less affected by flow dynamics with only second-stage autoignition and flame chemistry, which accounts for the majority heat release, coupled with the flow oscillation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Autoignition
  • Dimethyl ether (DME)
  • Flame dynamics
  • Negative temperature coefficient (NTC)
  • Nonpremixed coflow flame


Dive into the research topics of 'Flame dynamics in oscillating flows under autoignitive conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this