———————————————————————————— Proceedings of Combustion Institute - Canadian Section Spring Technical Meeting Carleton University, Ottawa May 9-12, 2010 ———————

Numerical simulation of turbulent bluff-body stabilized methane-air combustion
N. V. Girisha,1 , M. Mahdi Salehib , W. K. Busheb
b a

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India - 721 302 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - V6T 1Z4

1. Introduction With the growing need to reduce pollutant emissions from automobile engines, lean combustion is being preferred over burning of fuel in an oxygen rich atmosphere. Lean combustion has a reduced output of oxides of nitrogen (NOx ) which are considered highly toxic. Thus, the need to understand lean premixed combustion regimes at a theoretical and fundamental level is more important than ever. Numerical simulations of turbulent flames can be used to aid the improvement of designs of engines and turbines in turn increasing their efficiency. Turbulent combustion is a process that is inherently complicated by the presence of diverse time and length scales. However, the ubiquity of combustion in domains ranging from automobile engines to aircraft turbines, has attracted scientists to study it deeply and understand flames better. Simulations of turbulent combustion typically require approximate numerical solutions of the set of governing equations which are non-linear. The solutions of these equations are often a compromise between numerical accuracy and computational time, and depending on the chosen algorithm provide either averaged results as from the solution of Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) equations, results obtained by solving the filtered equations of Large Eddy Simulation (LES) or exact solutions of the equations offered by Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS). The large number of degrees of freedom of the problem renders DNS as an impracticable approach for industrially relevant problems, and therefore, averaging and filtering techniques that offer faster but less accurate solutions are necessary. Averaging (RANS) or filtering (LES) non-linear equations results in creation of unclosed terms that either need to be solved using transport equations or appropriately modeled on the basis of physical reasoning and associated mathematical equations. Reactive flows pose an additional challenge as they include chemical reaction equations, besides the conventional Navier-Stokes equations, which introduce an unclosed chemical source term as well. The models for turbulent combustion rely on various techniques involving algebraic models [1], flamelet models [2], Conditional Moment Closure (CMC) [3] and transported PDF methods [4]. Algebraic models are often unsuccessful in predicting concentrations of minor species [1] (including important pollutants such as NO). Other models give a more general solution for the turbulent closure problem, although they require other assumptions, include unclosed terms and hence have their own limitations. Within the flamelet regime, the structure of a laminar unstrained premixed flame can be viewed as a thin flamelet i.e. the reacting surfaces can be assumed to be parallel to each other [2]. This way chemical reaction rates of different species in a one-dimensional laminar unstrained premixed flame can be stored as a function of a reaction progress variable. Given the progress variable, the reaction rates at each point within the thin flame can be acquired. This is a low dimensional approximation for the hyper-dimensional chemistry manifold in composition space. This method is called Flame Prolongation of the Intrinsic low dimensional manifold (FPI) [5]. In an actual turbulent flow simulation, a shape is assumed for the probability density function of reaction progress variable. This presumed PDF is a function of the mean and variance of the reaction progress variable for which transport equations are solved. Since the chemistry is tabulated as a function of this variable, the mean chemical reaction source terms can be closed by integrating the
1 Corresponding

author: nvgirish@iitkgp.ac.in, nvgirishs@gmail.com

FPI values over the PDF. This method has been used with RANS modeling of turbulence [6], [7] and with LES and DNS [8]. In this work, a bluff-body stabilized methane-air flame[9] has been simulated using the above mentioned presumed PDF and a simple turbulence closure model (k-ε) [10]. The conical bluff-body creates a stabilizing recirculation zone localised near the stagnation region downstream of the bluff-body. Radial profiles obtained from simulations for different variables (temperature, velocity) and mass fractions of chemical species in this region have been compared to experimental observations. 2. Theory Turbulent combustion modeling aims to provide closures for the unclosed terms arising from Reynolds averaging of the balance equations. These terms have been described briefly as follows: 1. Terms involving molecular diffusion are often approximated to zero as they are negligible compared to turbulent transport. Also, the last three terms in the energy equation are usually neglected in RANS models. 2. The Reynolds stress tensor (u′′ u′′ ) is closed using turbuelence models. This may involve single or two-equation i j models that approximate the tensor or transport equations, as in the RST Models. In this paper, the k-ε turbulence model has been used to approximate this term. In this model two transport equations are solved for k and ε, which are used to compute the turbulent viscosity νt . The Reynolds stress tensor is then calculated from the Boussinesq assumption [10] which relates the Reynolds stress tensor to the velocity gradients via the turbulent viscosity by introducing an assumption for the diffusion term in the averaged Navier-Stokes equation for momentum. νt = Cµ k 1/2 l = Cµ k2 ε u′′ u′′ = νt i j ∂ui ∂xj (1)

′′ 3. Turbulent convection transport terms (u′′ Yk and u′′ h′′ ) are closed using gradient transport equations: j j

ρu′′ Yk = − ¯ j ′′

¯ µt ∂ Yk Sck ∂xj

where the Scmidt number, Sck =

µ ρDk

(2)

4. The mean chemical source term (ω k ) is closed using different techniques; algebraic models, flamelet approach, ˙ CMC and transported PDF method. In this paper, a flamelet model has been adopted. ˙ In order to close the mean chemical source term (ω) a statistical approach has been adopted. In turbulent premixed combustion, flame fluctuations in temperature, and species mass fractions are easily compared to a progress variable that quantifies the extent to which the combustion process has completed. A species based progress variable is defined in such a way that c = 0 in fresh gases, and c = 1 in burnt gases. The progress variable is defined as: c= Yp Yp,eq (3)

where Yp is the mass fraction of one or more product species - CO2 is used in the current work - and Yp,eq is the value of mass fraction of that product after complete combustion, i.e. in burnt gases. Further steps in the numerical modeling of the problem using the PDF function require knowledge of the PDF and its functional form by presuming a shape for the PDF. Since the probability to find all possible values of c is equal to unity, the integral of the PDF over the entire space must balance unity. Also, the zeroth, first and second moments of c must satisfy the following relations:
1 1 1

P (c∗ )dc∗ = 1
0 c

c∗ P (c∗ )dc∗ = c
c

(c∗ − c)2 P (c∗ )dc∗ = c′′2

(4)

¯ where P (c∗ ) is the Favre PDF: P (c∗ ) = ρ|c∗ P (c∗ )/¯. Using the above three relations and knowing the mean and ρ variance of reaction progress variable, a the presumed shape for the PDF can be formed. A flame prolonged ILDM (FPI) chemistry table is generated by solving transport equations for conservation of momentum and energy in a steady

one-dimensional laminar unstrained premixed flame. For an adiabatic 1D flame, the chemistry is only a function of the progress variable. Knowing the PDF of progress variable, the averaged reaction rates can be calculated by a simple integration:
1 1

ω= ˙
0

¯ ω|c∗ P (c∗ )dc∗ = ˙
0

¯ ω FPI (c∗ )P (c∗ )dc∗ ˙

(5)

where ω FPI (c∗ ) is the chemical source-term from the one-dimensional FPI calculation expressed as a function of ˙ progress variable. Two PDFs have been considered; the β−PDF which presumes the shape of the β function, and a modified form of the laminar flamelet PDF proposed by Bray et al. [11]. 1. β-PDF: 1 (c∗ )a−1 (1 − c∗ )b−1 ¯ (c∗ )a−1 (1 − c∗ )b−1 dc∗ (6) β(a, b) = P (c∗ ; x, t) = β(a, b) 0 The two parameters a and b are functions of local mean and variance: a=c ˜ c(1 − c) ˜ ˜ c
′′ 2

−1

≥0

b=a

1 −1 c ˜

≥0

(7)

2. Modified Laminar flamelet PDF: A laminar flamelet shape for the PDF proposed by Bray et al. [11] is defined as: P (c∗ ; x, t) = Aδ(c∗ ) + Bf (c∗ ) + Cδ(1 − c∗ ) (8)

where coeffecients A, B and C are calculated from Eq. 4 and f (c∗ ) is calculated using the solution of an unstrained laminar flame: 1 . (9) f (c∗ ) = |∇c∗ | The modification aims to use only the relevant portions of the PDF to the turbulent flame in consideration. The positions in the turbulent flame corresponding to the minimum and maximum values of progress variable c∗ are mapped to the corresponding positions in the PDF. Accordingly the portions of the PDF that are not significant may be truncated to zero. The PDF is in the form of a look-up table wherein values of the PDF for an unstrained laminar flame are stored at specified constant intervals of progress variable space. This is tabulated with the help of a the flame prolongation of ILDM (FPI).For a given range of c and c′′2 and an FPI chemistry, the PDF is formed and the mean ˜ reaction rates are integrated and stored apriori as an FPI-PDF table. A standard k − ε turbulence model with the modification of the Cε1 = 1.6 [10] is used. This modification helps taking into account the effect of an extra dissipation due to vortex stretching in an axi-symmetric jet. The ˜ transport equations for c, c′′2 , k and ε are solved along with the Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes equations. Energy ˜ ˜ conservation is applied in solving a transport equation for the average total enthalpy assuming an adiabatic flame. Transport equations for the average mass fraction of major species, i.e. CH4 , O2 , H2 O, H2 , CO2 and CO, are solved using gradient assumption for turbulent scalar flux and the FPI-PDF technique for modelling mean reaction rates. 3. Experimental Setup Considered The experimental flame of Nandula et al. [9] has been simulated. It is a lean premixed bluff body-stabilized flame confined in a chamber with a rounded-square cross section. The methane-air mixture enters the burner through an annular ring, surrounding a circular obstacle that acts as a bluff body. A zone of recirculation is produced downstream of the bluff body in which the entrapped hot products serve to stabilize the flame. Eddies produced due to interaction with the bluff body help in allowing the reactants and products to mix adequately, and hence support the reacting flame. The flame has an equivalence ratio of 0.586. 4. Numerical Approach The domain, a combustor having square cross-section (75cm x 75cm), was approximated as a cylindrical domain of diameter 75cm. A wedge section, half the diameter of the cylinder was meshed with cell numbers of 4800, 8000 and 10800. FlameMaster [12] was used to obtain the solution of the one-dimensional laminar unstrained premixed

2000
x/d = 1.0

1500 1000 500 2000 0
x/d = 0.6

1500 1000

Mean Temperature (K)

500 2000 0
x/d = 0.3

1500 1000 500 2000 0
x/d = 0.1

1500 1000 500 0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

40 30 20 10 0 −10 −20 30 20 10 0 −10 −20 30 20 10 0 −10 −20 30 20 10 0 −10 −20 0

x/d = 1.0

x/d = 0.6

Mean Axial Velocity (m/s)

x/d = 0.3

x/d = 0.1

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

Radial Location (r/D)

Radial Location (r/D)

Figure 1: Radial profiles of temperature and velocity at different positions(x/D) downstream of the bluff-body. Dots denote experimental observations[9]; solid lines denote simulation results using the modified PDF; dashes represent results from β−PDF flame for the FPI table using GRI-Mech 2.11 mechanism [13]. A finite volume pressure-based approach with a PISO algorithm for pressure correction is used for solving the Navier-Stokes equations using C++ objects available in the OpenFOAM package [14]. In each iteration, all the transport equations are solved sequentially and implicitly. The system of equations is solved using the Biconjugate Gradient method with preconditioning, with the exception of the Poisson equation for pressure which is solved using a geometric algebraic multi-grid method for better convergence. All processing was effected using an Intel Core2Duo processor and 2GB of RAM, for a processing time of 24 hours. The temperature of the outer wall was taken as 500 K and that of the bluff body was fixed at 300K, both modelled as slip walls. The inlet velocity of the flame is 15 m/s and a pressure of 1 atm at the inlet of the combustion chamber. Both coarse and fine grids were used to ensure grid independence of the solution. 5. Results The radial profiles of mean temperature and mean axial velocity are shown in Fig.1. The over-prediction in axial velocity profiles especially at lower axial locations can be attributed mainly to the approximations in the k-ε turbulence model. The flow behind the bluff body is highly anisotropic due to the existance of large turbulent eddies. Therefore, the k-ε turbulence model to which relies on this assumption causes some errors in predicting the mean velocity especially near the axis [15]. CH4 and O2 concentrations have been plotted in Fig. 2 at various positions away from the bluf body. Similarly, radial profiles of CO2 and H2 O are shown in Fig.3. The ability of the model to predict concentrations of major species to a considerable accuracy motivates further work on it using better turbulence models such as the Reynolds Stress Tensor Model (RSTM) which use exact transport equations to solve the unclosed Reynolds stress tensor lending more accurate solutions of the flame. Comparisons of the results obtained by the modified laminar flamelet PDF with that obtained with the β−PDF highlight the performance of the PDF model as a viable alternative to the existing PDF models. Given that the latter has a clear physical basis, whereas the former is purely ad hoc, this suggests that the modified laminar flamelet PDF should be preferred. 6. Concluding Remarks Numerical simulation of a bluff-body stabilized turbulent premixed flame with RANS has been performed with FPI tabulated chemistry. Mean reaction rates have been modeled with a flamelet presumed PDF and the results show

0.24 0.2 0.16 0.12 0.08 0.04 0.24 0.2 0.16 0.12 0.08 0.04 0.24 0.2 0.16 0.12 0.08 0.04 0.24 0.2 0.16 0.12 0.08 0.04 0 0.2 0.4

0.08
x/d = 1

x/d = 1

0.06 0.04 0.02 0
x/d = 0.6 x/d = 0.6

0.06 0.04

Mean CH4 Mole Fraction

0.02 0
x/d = 0.3

Mean O2 Mole Fraction

x/d = 0.3

0.06 0.04 0.02 0
x/d = 0.1

x/d = 0.1

0.06 0.04 0.02 0

0.6

0.8

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

Radial Location (r/D)

Radial Location (r/D)

Figure 2: Radial profiles of O2 and CH4 mass fractions at different positions(x/D) downstream of the bluff-body. Dots denote experimental observations[9]; solid lines denote simulation results using the modified PDF; dashes represent results from β−PDF

0.1 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0 0

0.16
x/d = 1 x/d = 1

0.12 0.08 0.04 0

x/d = 0.6

x/d = 0.6

0.12 0.08

Mean H O Mole Fraction

Mean CO Mole Fraction

0.04 0
x/d = 0.3

x/d = 0.3

0.12 0.08 0.04 0
x/d = 0.1

2

x/d = 0.1

2

0.12 0.08 0.04

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

0 0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

Radial Location (r/D)

Radial Location (r/D)

Figure 3: Radial profiles of CO2 and H2 O mass fractions at different positions(x/D) downstream of the bluff-body. Dots denote experimental observations[9]; solid lines denote simulation results using the modified PDF; dashes represent results from β−PDF

that the predictions of the modified laminar flamelet PDF are comparable to those of a β−PDF. The radial plots of major species concentrations indicate that predictions of the flamelet presumed PDF are closer to the experimental observations upstream (near the bluff body) of the flow whereas the β−PDF performs relatively better at peripheral locations and downstream of the flow. However it is not easy to substantiate the superiority of the β−PDF over the laminar flamelet PDF easily with these results. Further investigations using an LES turbulence model can show different effects of using these two models for PDF. 7. Acknowledgements This work has been financially supported by MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems) under the MITACS Globalink 2009 program. The authors would like to thank Dr. R. W. Pitz of Vanderbilt University and Mr. S. Nandula of Georgia Tech for providing the necessary experimental data. References [1] R. W. Bilger, S. B. Pope, K. N. C. Bray, J. F. Driscoll, Paradigms in turbulent combustion research, Proceedings of The Combustion Institute 30 (2005) 21–42. [2] P. A. Libby, K. N. C. Bray, Implications of the laminar flamelet model in premixed turbulent combustion, Combustion and Flame 39 (1980) 33–41. [3] A. Y. Klimenko, R. W. Bilger, Conditional moment closure for turbulent combustion, Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 25 (1999) 595–687. [4] S. B. Pope, Pdf methods for turbulent reactive flows, Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 11 (1985) 119–192. [5] O. Gicquel, N. Darabiha, D. Th´ venin, Laminar premixed hydrogen/air counterflow flame simulations using e flame prolongation of ildm with differential diffusion, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 28 (2000) 1901– 1908. [6] B. Fiorina, O. Gicquel, L. Vervisch, S. Carpentier, N. Darabiha, Premixed turbulent combustion modeling using tabulated detailed chemistry and pdf, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 30 (2005) 867–874. [7] G. Ribert, M. Champion, O. Gicquel, N. Darabiha, D. Veynante, Modelling nonadiabatic turbulent premixed reactive flows including tabulated chemistry, Combustion and Flame 141 (2005) 271–280. [8] P. Domingo, L. Vervisch, S. Payet, R. Hauguel, DNS of a premixed turbulent V-flame and LES of a ducted flame using a FSD-PDF subgrid scale closure with FPI-tabulated chemistry, Combustion and Flame 143 (2005) 566–586. [9] S. P. Nandula, R. W. Pitz, R. S. Barlow, G. J. Fietchtner, Rayleigh-raman-lif measurements in a turbulent lean premixed combustor, in: 34th Aerospace Science Meeting Exhibit, Reno, NV, USA, 1996. [10] L. Davidson, An introduction to turbulence models, Tech. rep., Chalmers University of Technology, G¨teborg, o Sweden (1997). [11] K. N. C. Bray, M. Champion, P. A. Libby, N. Swaminathan, Finite rate chemistry and presumed PDF models for premixed turbulent combustion, Combustion and Flame 146 (2006) 665–673. [12] H. Pitsch, FlameMaster, A C++ computer program for 0D combustion and 1D laminar flame calculations. [13] C. T. Bowman, R. Hanson, W. Gardiner, V. Lissianski, M. Frenklach, M. Goldenberg, G. Smith, D. Crosley, D. Golden, An optimized detailed chemical reaction mechanism for methane combustion and no formation and reburning, Tech. rep., Gas Research Institute (GRI), Gas Research Institute, Chicago, IL, USA (1997). [14] OpenFOAM, http://www.opencfd.co.uk/openfoam/ (2007). [15] W. Vicente, M. Salinas-Vasquez, E. Martinez, A. Rodriguez, Numerical simulation of turbulent lean, premixed combustion with an explicit algebraic stress model, Journal of Mathematics and Statistics 1 2 (2005) 86–90.

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