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(2013) Zhang, Haoyang; Hawkes, Evatt; Chen, Jacqueline; Kook, SanghoonJournal ArticleThe autoignition of dimethyl ether (DME) with temperature inhomogeneities is investigated by one-dimensional numerical simulations with detailed chemistry at high pressure and a constant volume. The primary purpose of the study is to provide an understanding of the autoignition of DME in a simplified configuration that is relevant to homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines. The ignition structure and the negative temperature coefficient (NTC) behaviour are characterised in a homogeneous domain and one-dimensional domains with thermal stratification, at different initial mean temperatures and length scales. The thermal stratification is shown to strongly affect the spatial structure and temporal progress of ignition. The importance of diffusion and conduction on the ignition progress is assessed. It is shown that the effects of molecular diffusion decay relative to those of chemical reaction as the length-scale increases. This is to be expected, however the present study shows that these characteristics also depend on the mean temperature due to NTC behaviour. For the range of conditions studied here, which encompass a range of stratification length scales expected in HCCI engines, the effects of molecular transport are found to be small compared with chemical reaction effects for mean temperatures within the NTC regime. This is in contrast to previous work with fuels with single-stage ignition behaviour where practically realisable temperature gradients can lead to molecular transport effects becoming important. In addition, thermal stratification is demonstrated to result in significant reductions of the pressure-rise rate (PRR), even for the present fuel with two-stage ignition and NTC behaviour. The reduction of PRR is however strongly dependent on the mean initial temperature. The stratification length-scale is also shown to have an important influence on the pressure oscillations, with large-amplitude oscillations possible for larger length scales typical of integral scales in HCCI engines.
(2013) Hawkes, Evatt; Chatakonda, Obulesu; Aspden, Andrew; Kerstein, Alan; Kolla, Hemanth; Chen, JacquelineJournal ArticleKnowledge of the fractal properties of premixed flame surfaces can potentially be used to help develop turbulent combustion models. Here, direct numerical simulations of low Damköhler number flames are used to analyse the fractal nature of the flames. Two sets of data are considered: (i) thermochemical hydrogen–air turbulent premixed plane-jet flames with detailed chemistry and (ii) thermonuclear flames in type Ia supernovae. A three-dimensional box counting method is used to investigate fractal dimension of the flame surface, characterising the self similarity of flame fronts. In the premixed flames, the fractal dimension is found to vary in time between 2.1 and 2.7. The supernovae flames in distributed combustion regimes yield fractal dimension about 2.7. The results for the maximum fractal dimensions are higher than previously reported. They are explained theoretically by a Reynolds number similarity argument which posits that the high Reynolds number, low Damköhler number limiting value of the fractal dimension is 8/3. Also tested is Mandelbrot’s fractal additive law which relates the fractal dimension determined in two dimensions, which is typical of experimental measurements, to that in three dimensions. The comparison of the fractal dimension in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional spaces supports the additive law, even though the flames considered do not formally satisfy isotropy. Finally, the inner-cut off is extracted from the hydrogen flames and found to be consistent in order of magnitude with Kolmogorov scaling.