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Progress Toward Analytic Predictions of Supersonic Hydrocarbon-Air Combustion: Computation of Ignition Times and Supersonic Mixing Layers

  • Author(s): Sexton, Scott Michael
  • Advisor(s): Sánchez, Antonio
  • et al.
Abstract

Combustion in scramjet engines is faced with the limitation of brief residence time in the combustion chamber, requiring fuel and preheated air streams to mix and ignite in a matter of milliseconds. Accurate predictions of autoignition times are needed to design reliable supersonic combustion chambers. Most efforts in estimating non-premixed autoignition times have been de- voted to hydrogen-air mixtures. The present work addresses hydrocarbon-air combustion, which is of interest for future scramjet engines.

Computation of ignition in supersonic flows requires adequate characterization of ignition ix

chemistry and description of the flow, both of which are derived in this work. In particular, we have shown that activation energy asymptotics combined with a previously derived reduced chemical kinetic mechanism provides analytic predictions of autoignition times in homogeneous systems. Results are compared with data from shock tube experiments, and previous expressions which employ a fuel depletion criterion.

Ignition in scramjet engines has a strong dependence on temperature, which is found by perturbing the chemically frozen mixing layer solution. The frozen solution is obtained here, accounting for effects of viscous dissipation between the fuel and air streams. We investigate variations of thermodynamic and transport properties, and compare these to simplified mixing layers which neglect these variations. Numerically integrating the mixing layer problem reveals a nonmonotonic temperature profile, with a peak occurring inside the shear layer for sufficiently high Mach numbers.

These results will be essential in computation of ignition distances in supersonic combus- tion chambers.

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