The role of global curvature on the structure and propagation of weakly unstable cylindrical detonations

Wenhu Han, Wenjun Kong, Yang Gao, Chung King Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The role of the global curvature on the structure and propagation of cylindrical detonations is studied allowing and without allowing the development of cellular structures through two-dimensional (2-D) and 1-D simulations, respectively. It is shown that as the detonation transitions from being overdriven to the Chapman-Jouguet (CJ) state, its structure evolves from no cell, to growing cells and then to diverging cells. Furthermore, the increased dimension of the average structure of the cellular cylindrical detonation, coupled with the curved transverse wave, leads to bulk un-reacted pockets as the cells grow, and consequently lower average propagation velocities as compared to those associated with smooth fronts. As the global detonation front expands and its curvature decreases, the extent of the un-reacted pockets diminishes and the average velocity of the cellular cylindrical detonation eventually degenerates to that of the smooth fronts. Consequently, the presence of cellular instability renders detonation more difficult to initiate for weakly unstable detonations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-481
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Feb 25 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Compressible flows
  • detonation waves
  • shock waves


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