Turbulent nonpremixed cool flames: Experimental measurements, Direct Numerical Simulation, and manifold-based combustion modeling

Alex G. Novoselov, Christopher B. Reuter, Omar R. Yehia, Sang Hee Won, Matthew K. Fu, Katherine Kokmanian, Marcus Nils Hultmark, Yiguang Ju, Michael Edward Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Turbulence, low-temperature chemistry, and their interactions in the form of turbulent cool flames are critical to understanding and improving advanced engines. Design of such engines requires tractable simulations which in turn necessitate turbulent combustion models that can account for cool flames. While manifold-based turbulent combustion models are an attractive option for hot flames, their applicability to cool flames is not yet fully understood. This is partially due to the lack of turbulent cool flame experiments, which has made model validation difficult. This work addresses these points with a combined experimental and computational investigation of turbulent nonpremixed dimethyl ether cool flames. First, a Co-flow Axisymmetric Reactor-Assisted Turbulent (CARAT) burner is developed and tested. Turbulent cool flames are studied using the formaldehyde planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF), acetone PLIF, and planar Rayleigh scattering techniques. The acetone PLIF signals are converted into mixture fraction values, and measurements of time-averaged temperature are derived from the Rayleigh scattering signals by taking advantage of the similarities between cool flames and unburned mixtures. Second, a Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) of the CARAT burner is conducted. The flame is shown to be sensitive to thermal boundary conditions such that the stabilization method is dependent on a 10 K change in inlet temperature. Comparisons of first- and second-order statistics of temperature, mixture fraction, and formaldehyde between the DNS and experiment show good agreement. The validity of manifold-based turbulent combustion models in turbulent cool flames is then explored by first studying the effective Lewis numbers in the flame using a local differential diffusion parameter analysis. Turbulent cool flames are shown to have effective unity Lewis number transport even at a much lower Reynolds number than typically required for hot flames. Good agreement is shown for temperature and formaldehyde between DNS conditional means and one-dimensional nonpremixed flame solutions. Additionally, the motion of the cool flame in mixture fraction space is shown to be well described by one-dimensional nonpremixed flame solutions. These points indicate that the fundamental physics of turbulent cool flames are analogous to turbulent hot flames, implying that the same reduced-order manifold-based modeling approaches utilized for turbulent hot flames can be utilized for turbulent cool flames.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - Nov 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Cool flame
  • Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS)
  • Reduced-order manifold modeling
  • Turbulent nonpremixed flame


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