Multi-regime reaction front and detonation initiation by temperature inhomogeneity

Jiaying Pan, Lei Wang, Wenkai Liang, Chung K. Law, Haiqiao Wei, Gequn Shu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Auto-ignition, reaction front propagation, and detonation development are foundational events in combustion, and are relevant to the occurrence of engine knock. It is generally understood that different auto-ignition modes can be initiated by non-uniform initial temperatures, manifesting the transition from supersonic to subsonic combustion modes with increasing temperature gradients. In this work, we have investigated the auto-ignition and reaction front propagation of syngas/air mixtures initiated by wide-ranging temperature gradients, in both spherical and planar coordinates, and have identified a universal detonation response diagram with multiple, non-monotonic boundaries of auto-ignition modes under engine-relevant conditions. Specifically, it is shown that with increasing gradient steepness, in addition to the conventional three regimes of supersonic auto-ignition deflagration, detonation development, and subsonic auto-ignition deflagration, the reaction front propagation speed would first decrease dramatically and then increase, hence inducing additional detonation regimes. Consequently, two detonation peninsulas are identified, with the first corresponding to the well-established Bradley detonation peninsula and the second manifesting a broader detonation regime. Both detonation peninsulas depend on the hotspot size and they can connect together when the hotspot radius becomes sufficiently large. The transient auto-ignition processes and chemical-gas dynamic interactions agree with the typical characteristics of various auto-ignition modes. Finally, auto-ignition modes are summarized in the detonation diagram, in which the Bradley detonation peninsula is well reproduced and the new detonation peninsula is quantitatively determined. The present study demonstrates that auto-ignition modes are significantly affected by the non-monotonic behavior of reaction front propagation, and the use of actual propagation speed is necessary for steeper temperature gradients in order to determine more accurate dimensionless parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4929-4937
Number of pages9
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


  • Auto-ignition modes
  • Detonation development
  • Detonation peninsula
  • Dimensionless parameters
  • Temperature gradient


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