Flame structure and ignition limit of partially premixed cool flames in a counterflow burner

Christopher B. Reuter, Sang Hee Won, Yiguang Ju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Due to their natural coupling of low-temperature chemistry and transport, cool flames are a valuable platform for drawing fundamental understandings of complicated phenomena relevant to real engines. In this study, self-sustaining partially premixed cool flames of dimethyl ether are investigated in detail through the use of an ozone-assisted counterflow burner. A double cool flame with distinct diffusion flame and premixed flames sides is visibly observed at increased fuel loading and equivalence ratio. The examination of double cool flames and double hot flames through planar laser-induced fluorescence measurements reveals the stark differences in the role of CH2O in each. The results show that while CH2O is one of the main product species of the cool flame via low-temperature chemistry, for the hot flame it is only a short-lived intermediate produced in the preheat zone. Comparisons of experimental results with numerical calculations based upon detailed chemical kinetic models show fair agreement on the double cool flame structure but a noticeable discrepancy in the prediction of the second-stage ignition limit, which triggers the transition from cool flames to hot flames. The critical strain rate for second-stage ignition is shown to be much more sensitive to fuel addition on the premixed side of the double flame than on the diffusion side. A mechanism for second-stage ignition in partially premixed cool flames is proposed based upon numerical modeling and experimental observations: H2O2 is primarily formed in the premixed cool flame, diffuses toward the stagnation plane, and then finally decomposes into OH radicals upon approaching the cool diffusion flame.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1513-1522
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Cool flame
  • Low-temperature chemistry
  • Ozone
  • Partially premixed flame
  • Second-stage ignition


Dive into the research topics of 'Flame structure and ignition limit of partially premixed cool flames in a counterflow burner'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this