A theoretical study of premixed turbulent flame development
Journal article, 2004
Flame development in a statistically stationary and uniform, planar, one-dimensional turbulent flow is theoretically studied. A generalized balance equation for the mean combustion progress variable, which includes turbulent diffusion and pressure-driven transport terms, as well as the mean rate of product creation, is introduced and analyzed by invoking the sole assumption of a self-similar flame structure, well-supported by numerous experiments. The assumption offers the opportunity to simplify the problem by splitting the aforementioned partial differential equation into two ordinary differential equations, which separately model spatial variations of the progress variable and time variations of flame speed and thickness. The self-similar profile of the progress variable, obtained in numerous experiments, is theoretically predicted. Closures of the normalized pressure-driven transport term and mean rate of product creation are obtained. The closed balance equation shows that turbulent diffusion dominates during the initial stage of flame development, followed by the transition to counter-gradient transport in a sufficiently developed flame. A criterion of the transition is derived. The transition is promoted by the heat release and pressure-driven transport. Fully-developed mean flame brush thickness and speed are shown to decrease when either density ratio or pressure-driven transport increases. Solutions for the development of the thickness are obtained. The development is accelerated by the pressure-driven transport and heat release.