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Title: On the ignition kernel formation and propagation: an experimental and modeling approach
Abstract The next generation of advanced combustion devices is being developed to operate under ultra-high-pressure conditions. However, under such extreme conditions, flame tends to become unstable and measurement of fundamental properties such as the laminar flame speed becomes challenging. One potential method to resolve this issue is measuring the ignition-affected region during spherically expanding flame experiments. The flame in this region is more resistant to perturbations and remains smooth due to the high stretch rates (i.e. small radii). Stable flame propagation allows for improved flame measurement, however, the experimentally observed kernel propagation is a function of both inflammation and ignition plasma. Therefore, the goal of the present study is to better understand the plasma formation and propagation during the ignition process, which would allow for reliable laminar flame speed measurements. To accomplish this goal, thermal plasma operating at high pressures is studied with emphasis on the spark energy effects on the formation of the ignition kernel. The thermal effect of the plasma is experimentally observed using a high-speed Schlieren imaging system. The energy dissipated within the plasma is measured with the use of voltage and current probes with a measurement of plasma sheath voltage drop as an input to numerical modeling. The measured kernel propagation rate is used to assess the accuracy of the model. The experiments and modeling are conducted in dry air at 1, 3, and 5 atm as well as in CH 4 -N 2 mixtures at 1 atm, and kernel radius, temperature, and mass are reported. The voltage-drop (as a non-thermal loss) is measured to be approximately 330 ± 5 V (dry air at 1 atm) for glow plasma with a large dependency on pressure, gas composition, electrode surface quality, electrode geometry, electrode shape, and current density. The same loss within the arc plasma is measured to be 15 ± 5 V, however the arc phase loss which agrees with arc propagation is significantly higher (∼45 V) which suggest additional unaccounted for phenomena occurring during the arc phase. With these losses, the modeling results are shown to predict the final kernel radius within 10%–20% of the observed kernel size. The difference found between the modeling and experimental results is determined to be a result of assuming that the primary loss mechanism (voltage drop across sheath formation) remains constant for the duration of glow discharge. The discrepancy for arc discharge is discussed with several potential sources, however, additional studies are required to better understand how the arc formation affects the kernel propagation.  more » « less
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Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics
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Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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