Development of numerical codes for the evaluation of combustion processes. Detailed numerical simulations of laminar flames
ColaboratorOliva, Asensio; Pérez Segarra, Carlos David; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de Màquines i Motors Tèrmics
Document typeDoctoral thesis
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
Deep knowledge of combustion phenomenon is of great scientific and technological interest due to its presence in a wide range of industrial processes and equipment. Being the most important worldwide energy support provided by combustion of fossil fuels, the goal of developing more efficient and cleaner systems or equipment is clearly justified. In the last decade, the importance of the reduction of pollutant emissions has increased considerably due to both environmental consciousness and to governmental policies, being one of the most important aspects to assure the competitiveness of combustion-related industries.Traditionally, a high number of experimental studies based on trial-and-error analysis were necessary on the optimisation of thermal equipment, where heat and mass transfer and fluid flow have a dominant role. In the last decades, in agreement with the development of computational capabilities, CFD simulations have become a worthful complement to experimental investigations, reducing in this sense production costs and time to market. However, the considerable complexity of combustion phenomena and the strong feedback between the flow and the chemistry, makes more difficult the task of develop accurate, computationally capable and robust numerical codes for combustion phenomena in industrial applications. This goal remains a promising challenge today and for the foreseeable future.The work developed in this thesis contributes to this objective. Rather than assuming less accurate mathematical approaches and consider their application to engineering problems, our main intention has been centred to the development of numerical tools that enable the feasible resolution of combustion problems with the highest level of detail.On the detailed numerical simulation of combustion problems, main difficulties arise from the stiffness of the governing equations, the presence of flame fronts, and the huge number of species and reactions involved in the reaction mechanisms. In order to overcome these numerical difficulties, a parallel multiblock algorithm able to work efficiently with loosely coupled computers, has been developed. The employment of numerical strategies to deal with the commented stiffness, and the use of multiblock techniques to optimise the discretisation and to parallelise the code, are the main attributes that can be pointed out. An excellent ratio between computational time and resources have been obtained.In the analysis of the numerical solutions, special attention is given to their verification. The accuracy of the results has been analysed providing uncertainty estimations. The numerical methodology employed in this thesis to simulate reactive flows is one of the most relevant contributions presented.The numerical infrastructure developed has been applied to the numerical analysis of laminar flames. Although combustion nearly always takes place within a turbulence flow field to increase the mixing process and thereby enhance combustion, laminar flames are considered as an illustrative example of combustion phenomenon and its experimental and detailed numerical analysis is a basic ingredient on the modelling of turbulent combustion processes as well as for pollutant formation. Special attention has been given to co-flow non-premixed and partially premixed methane-air laminar flames. The wide application of these flames in house-hold and industrial heating systems due to both their intense combustion process and the relatively clean nature of natural gas (composed mainly by methane), has motivated extensive research on the experimental and numerical modelling of such flames.Detailed numerical simulations have been performed to analyse fundamental aspects of these flames, and the adequacy of several mathematical approaches employed on their modelling. Available experimental data have been taken into account both on the analysis of the influence of partially premixing to main flame properties and on the mathematical approaches comparison. Special attention has also been given to pollutant formation, NOx and CO emission indexes.
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