Fernández Tarrazo, Eduardo and Sánchez Pérez, Antonio Luis and Liñán Martínez, Amable and Williams, F.A.
Flammability conditions for ultra-lean hydrogen premixed
combustion based on flame-ball analyses.
"International Journal of Hydrogen Energy", v. 37
It has been reasoned that the structures of strongly cellular flames in very lean mixtures approach an array of flame balls, each burning as if it were isolated, thereby indicating a connection between the critical conditions required for existence of steady flame balls and
those necessary for occurrence of self-sustained premixed combustion. This is the starting assumption of the present study, in which structures of near-limit steady sphericosym-metrical flame balls are investigated with the objective of providing analytic expressions for critical combustion conditions in ultra-lean hydrogen-oxygen mixtures diluted with N2 and water vapor. If attention were restricted to planar premixed flames, then the lean-limit mole
fraction of H2 would be found to be roughly ten percent, more than twice the observed flammability limits, thereby emphasizing the relevance of the flame-ball phenomena.
Numerical integrations using detailed models for chemistry and radiation show that a onestep chemical-kinetic reduced mechanism based on steady-state assumptions for all
chemical intermediates, together with a simple, optically thin approximation for water-vapor radiation, can be used to compute near-limit fuel-lean flame balls with excellent accuracy. The previously developed one-step reaction rate includes a crossover temperature that determines in the first approximation a chemical-kinetic lean limit below which combustión cannot occur, with critical conditions achieved when the diffusion-controlled radiation-free
peak temperature, computed with account taken of hydrogen Soret diffusion, is equal to the crossover temperature. First-order corrections are found by activation-energy asymptotics in a solution that involves a near-field radiation-free zone surrounding a spherical flame sheet,
together with a far-field radiation-conduction balance for the temperature profile. Different scalings are found depending on whether or not the surrounding atmosphere contains wáter vapor, leading to different analytic expressions for the critical conditions for flame-ball
existence, which give results in very good agreement with those obtained by detailed numerical computations.