Ignition in nonpremixed counterflowing hydrogen versus heated air: Computational study with detailed chemistry

T. G. Kreutz, C. K. Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Forced ignition in counterflowing jets of N2-diluted H2 versus heated air has been investigated over a wide range of temperature, pressure, and strain rate by numerical modeling with detailed chemistry and transport. Ignition temperatures calculated at constant strain rates are seen to exhibit a Z-shaped pressure dependence similar to that observed in explosion limits of homogeneous H2/air mixtures. As with the corresponding explosion limits, the first and second ignition limits are governed by the competition for hydrogen radicals between chain branching (H + O2 → O + OH) and termination (H + O2 + M → HO2 + M) pathways, and the third ignition limit involves additional propagation (2HO2 → H2O2 + O2 → 2OH + O2) and branching (HO2 + H2 → H2O2 + H → 2OH + H) pathways that compete with chain termination. Ignition in this inhomogeneous, diffusive system is found to involve a spatially localized ignition 'kernel,' identified as the region near the point of maximum temperature where the rate of hydrogen radical chain branching is maximized. Mass transport of radicals out of the ignition kernel affects the ignition process by competing with chemical reactions within the kernel, particularly in the first and third limits where the dominant ignition chemistry is relatively slow. Ignition temperatures in these limits are found to be much more sensitive to aerodynamic straining than in the second limit. By controlling the width of the ignition kernel and thus the characteristic residence time of key radicals within it, the strain rate is found to determine the dominant chemistry and the relevant ignition limit at any given pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-175
Number of pages19
JournalCombustion and Flame
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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