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Heating appliances
Bunsen burners
Burner for glass product manufacturing

Importance of studying laminar premixed flames:

Some burners use this type of flames as shown by
examples above
Prerequisite to the study of turbulent premixed
flames. Both have the same physical processes
and many turbulent flame theories are based on
underlying laminar flame structure.
Basic Flame Types:
Premixed flames: fuel and oxidizer are homogeneously mixed before reaction
occurs. Laminar and turbulent premixed flames
Non premixed flames: fuel and oxidizer come into contact during combustion
process. Laminar and turbulent diffusion flames

Combustion Theory 3
1. Laminar premixed flames
1. Laminar premixed flames
A premixed flame is a self-sustaining propagation of a localized
combustion zone at subsonic velocities (deflagration regime)
The classical device to generate a laminar premixed flame is the
Bunsen burner:

Typical Bunsen burner flame

Combustion Theory 5
Example: Typical Bunsen-burner CH4/Air flame

Outer diffusion flame

Outer cone (luminous zone):

reaction and heat transfer

Preheating region
containing fuel and air

Inner cone (dark zone):

fuel rich flame

Typical Bunsen-burner flame is a dual flame:

a fuel-rich premixed inner flame
a diffusion outer flame: CO and H2 from inner flame encounter ambient
Combustion Theory 6
Basic features of laminar premixed flames

Fuel/Air Ratio Fuel lean Stochiometric Fuel rich Very fuel rich

Flame colour, Deep Violet Blue Green Yellow

due to large due to large due to carbon
i.e. colour of the concentrations concentrations particles
of excited CH of C2 species
outer cone radicals
High-T burned
gases usually
show a reddish
glow due to
radiation from
CO2 and H2O

Flame characteristics for hydrocarbon-air stochiometric mixtures

The flame is ~1 mm thick and moves at ~0.5 m/s
Pressure drop through the flame is very small: ~1 Pa
Temperature in reaction zone is ~2200-2600 K
Density ratio of reactants to products is ~7
2 sub regions exist: a fast chemistry zone, dominated by bimolecular
reactions, and a slow chemistry zone (CO+OH=CO2+H)

Combustion Theory 7
Physical characteristics
Figure 8.2 shows typical flame temperature profile,
mole fraction of reactants,R, and volumetric heat
release, .
Velocity of reactants entering the flame, u = flame
propagation velocity, SL
Products heated product density (b) < reactant
density (u). Continuity requires that burned gas
velicity, b >= unburned gas vel., u
u u A = b b A (8.1)
For a typical hydrocarbon-air flame at P atm,
u/b 7 considerable acceleration of the
gas flow across the flame (b to u).
A flame consists of 2 zones:
Preheat zone, where little heat is released
Reaction zone, where the bulk of chemical energy
is released
Reaction zone consists of 2 regions:
Thin region (less than a millimeter), where
reactions are very fast
Wide region (several millimeters), where reactions
are slow
In thin region (fast reaction zone), destruction of the fuel
molecules and creation of many intermediate species
occur. This region is dominated by bimolecular reactions to
produce CO.
Wide zone (slow reaction zone) is dominated by radical
recombination reactions and final burnout of CO via CO +

Flame colours in fast-reaction zone:

If air > stoichiometric proportions, excited CH radicals
result in blue radiation.
If air < stoichiometric proportions, the zone appears blue-
green as a result of radiation from excited C2.
In both flame regions, OH radicals contribute to
the visible radiation, and to a lesser degree due to
reaction CO + O CO2 + h.
If the flame is fuel-rich (much less air), soot will
form, with its consequent blackbody continuum
radiation. Although soot radiation has its maximum
intensity in the infrared (recall Wiens law for
blackbody radiation), the spectral sensitivity of the
human eye causes us to see a bright yellow (near
white) to dull orange emission, depending on the
flame temperature
Figure 1. Spectrum of flame colours
Typical Laboratory Premixed Flames
The typical Bunsen-burner flame is a dual flame: a
fuel rich premixed inner flame surrounded by a
diffusion flame. Figure 8.3 illustrates a Bunsen
The diffusion flame results when CO and OH from
the rich inner flame encounter the ambient air.
The shape of the flame is determined by the
combined effects of the velocity profile and heat
losses to the tube wall.
For the flame to remain stationary,
SL = normal component of u = u sin (8.3).
Figure 8.3b illustrates vector diagram.
Turns (2000) proposes simplified laminar flame
speed and thickness on one-dimensional flame.
Assumptions used:
One-dimensional, constant-area, steady flow.
One-dimensional flat flame is shown in Figure 8.5.
Kinetic and potential energies, viscous shear work,
and thermal radiation are all neglected.
The small pressure difference across the flame is
neglected; thus, pressure is constant.
The diffusion of heat and mass are governed by
Fourier's and Fick's laws respectively (laminar
Binary diffusion is assumed.
The Lewis number, Le, which expresses the
ratio of thermal diffusivity, , to mass diffusivity,
D, i.e., k is unity,
D C p D

u C p
The Cp mixture f(temperature, composition).
This is equivalent to assuming that individual
species specific heats are all equal and
Fuel and oxidizer form products in a single-step
exothermic reaction. Reaction is
1 kg fuel + kg oxidiser ( + 1)kg products
The oxidizer is present in stoichiometric or
excess proportions; thus fuel is completely
consumed at the flame.
For this simplified system, SL and found are
1/ 2

S L 2 1

2 u

1 F

or (8.21) 2

where is volumetric mass rate of fuel and is thermal

diffusivity. Temperature profile is assumed linear from

Tu to Tb over the small distance, as shown in Fig. 8.9.
1. Temperature (Tu and Tb)
Temperature dependencies of SL and can be
inferred from Eqns 8.20 and 8.21. Explicit
dependencies is proposed by Turns as follows
k (T ) (8.27)
T 0.75 Tu P 1
u C p (T )
where is thermal diffusivity, Tu is unburned gas
temperature, T 0.5 Tb Tu , Tb is burned
gas temperature.
n Tu
/ u
m F . Tb n P n1Tu exp( E A /( RuTb ) (8.28)

where the exponent n is the overall reaction order,

Ru = universal gas constant (J/kmol-K), EA =
activation energy (J/kmol)
Combining above scalings yields and applying
Eqs 8.20 and 8.21
0.375 n / 2 EA ( n 2) / 2
SL T TuTb exp P (8.29)
2R T
u b
0.375 n/2 EA n / 2
T Tb exp P (8.30)
2 R T
u b
For hydrocarbons, n 2 and EA 1.67.108 J/kmol
(40 kcal/gmol). Eqn 8.29 predicts SL to increase by
factor of 3.64 when Tu is increased from 300 to
600K. Table 8.1 shows comparisons of SL and
The empirical SL correlation of Andrews and
Bradley [19] for stoichiometric methane-air flames,
SL (cm/s) = 10 + 3.71.10-4[Tu(K)]2 (8.31)
which is shown in Fig. 8.13, along with data from
several experimenters.
Using Eqn. 8.31, an increase in Tu from 300 K to
600 K results in SL increasing by a factor of 3.3,
which compares quite favourably with our estimate
of 3.64 (Table 8.1).
Table 8.1 Estimate of effects of Tu and Tb on SL
and using Eq 8.29 and 8.30
Case A (ref) B C
Tu (K) 300 600 300
Tb (K) 2,000 2,300 1,700
SL/SL,A 1 3.64 0.46
/A 1 0.65 1.95

Case A: reference
Case C: Tb changes due to heat transfer or
changing equivalent ratio, either lean or rich.
Case B: Tu changes due to preheating fuel
Pressure (P)
From Eq. 8.29, if, again, n 2, SL f (P).
Experimental measurements generally show a
negative dependence of pressure. Andrews and
Bradley [19] found that
SL (cm/s) = 43[P (atm)]-0.5 (8.32)
fits their data for P > 5 atm for methane-air flames
(Fig. 8.14).
Equivalent Ratio ( )
Except for very rich mixtures, the primary effect of
on SL for similar fuels is a result of how this
parameter affects flame temperatures; thus, we
would expect S L,max at a slightly rich mixture and
fall off on either side as shown in Fig. 8.15 for
behaviour of methane.
Flame thickness () shows the inverse trend,
having a minimum near stoichiometric (Fig. 8.16).
Fuel Type
Fig. 8.17 shows SL for C1-C6 paraffins (single
bonds), olefins (double bonds), and acetylenes
(triple bonds). Also shown is H2. SL of C3H8 is used
as a reference.
Roughly speaking the C3-C6 hydrocarbons all
follow the same trend as a function of flame
temperature. C2H4 and C2H2 SL > the C3-C6 group,
while CH4SL lies somewhat below.
H2's SL,max is many times > that of C3H8. Several
factors combine to give H2 its high flame speed:
i. the thermal diffusivity () of pure H2 is many
times > the hydrocarbon fuels;
ii. the mass diffusivity (D) of H2 likewise is much >
the hydrocarbons;
iii. the reaction kinetics for H2 are very rapid since
the relatively slow CO CO2 step that is a major
factor in hydrocarbon combustion is absent.
Law [20] presents a
compilation of laminar Fuel SL (cm/s)
flame-speed data for
various pure fuels and CH4 40
mixtures shown in
Table 8.2. C2H2 136
Table 8.2 SL for
various pure fuels C2H4 67
burning in air for = C2H6 43
1.0 and at 1 atm
C3H8 44
H2 210
Metghalchi and Keck [11] experimentally
determined SL for various fuel-air mixtures over
a range of temperatures and pressures typical of
conditions associated with reciprocating internal
combustion engines and gas turbine
Eqn 8.33 similar to Eqn. 8.29 is proposed

SL = SL,ref Tu
(1 2.1Ydil) (8.33)
Tu , ref P ref

for Tu 350 K.
The subscript ref refers to reference conditions
defined by
Tu,ref = 298 K, Pref = 1 atm and
SL,ref = BM + B2( - M)2 (for reference conditions)
where the constants BM, B2, and M depend on fuel
type and are given in Table 8.3.
Exponents of T and P, and are functions of ,
expressed as
= 2.18 - 0.8( - 1) (for non-reference conditions)
= -0. 16 + 0.22( - 1) (for non-reference conditions)
The term Ydil is the mass fraction of diluent present
in the air-fuel mixture in Eqn. 8.33 to account for
any recirculated combustion products. This is a
common technique used to control NOx in many
combustion systems
Table 8.3 Values for BM, B2, and M used in Eqn
8.33 [11]
Fuel M BM (cm/s) B2 (cm/s)
Methanol 1.11 36.92 -140.51

Propane 1.08 34.22 -138.65

Iso octane 1.13 26.32 -84.72

RMFD-303 1.13 27.58 -78.54

Example 8.3
Compare the laminar flame speeds of gasoline-air
mixtures with = 0.8 for the following three cases:
i. At ref conditions of T = 298 K and P = 1 atm
ii. At conditions typical of a spark-ignition engine
operating at wide-open throttle: T = 685 K and P
= 18.38 atm.
iii. Same as condition ii above, but with 15 percent
(by mass) exhaust-gas recirculation
RMFD-303 research fuel has a controlled
composition simulating typical gasolines. The
flame speed at 298 K and 1 atm is given by
SL,ref = BM + B2( - M)2
From Table 8.3,
BM = 27.58 cm/s, B2 = -78.38cm/s, M = 1. 13.
SL,ref = 27.58 - 78.34(6.8 - 1.13)2 = 19.05 cm/s
To find the flame speed at Tu and P other than the
reference state, we employ Eqn. 8.33
SL(Tu, P) = SL,ref

Tu P

Tu , ref P ref
= 2.18-0.8(-1) = 2.34
= -0.16+0.22(-1) = - 0.204
SL(685 K, 18.38 atm) =
19.05 (685/298)2.34(18.38/1)-0.204 =73.8cm/s
With dilution by exhaust-gas recirculation, the
flame speed is reduced by factor (1-2.1 Ydil):
SL(685 K, 18.38 atm, 15%EGR) =
73.8cm/s[1-2.1(0.15)]= 50.6 cm/s
Previously steady propagation of premixed
laminar flames
Now transient process: quenching and ignition.
Attention to quenching distance, flammability
limits, and minimum ignition energies with heat
losses controlling the phenomena.
1. Quenching by a Cold Wall
Flames extinguish upon entering a sufficiently
small passageway. If the passageway is not too
small, the flame will propagate through it. The
critical diameter of a circular tube where a flame
extinguishes rather than propagates, is referred to
as the quenching distance.
Experimental quenching distances are determined
by observing whether a flame stabilised above a
tube does or does not flashback for a particular
tube diameter when the reactant flow is rapidly
shut off.
Quenching distances are also determined using
high-aspect-ratio rectangular-slot burners. In this
case, the quenching distance between the long
sides, i.e., the slit width.
Tube-based quenching distances are somewhat
larger (20-50 percent) than slit-based ones [21]
Ignition and Quenching Criteria
Williams [22] provides 2 rules-of-thumb governing
ignition and flame extinction.
Criterion 1 -Ignition will only occur if enough
energy is added to heat a slab thickness steadily
propagating laminar flame to the adiabatic flame
Criterion 2 -The rate of liberation of heat by
chemical reactions inside the slab must
approximately balance the rate of heat loss from
the slab by thermal conduction. This is applicable
to the problem of flame quenching by a cold wall.
Simplified Quenching Analysis.
Consider a flame that has just entered a slot
formed by two plane-parallel plates as shown in
Fig. 8.18. Applying Williams second criterion:
heat produced by reaction = heat conduction to
the walls, i.e.,
Q&V Q&cond ,tot
& is volumetric heat release rate
Q& m&F hc
where m &F is volumetric mass rate of fuel,
hc is heat of combustion
Thickness of the slab of gas analysed = .
Find quenching distance, d.
& dT (8.36)
Q kA
cond in gas wall
A = 2L, where L is slot width ( paper) and 2
accounts for contact on both sides (left and
right). dT
is difficult to approximate. A
reasonable lower bound of dT =
Tb Tw
d /b
where b = 2, assuming a linear distribution of T
from the centerline plane at Tb to the wall at Tw.
In general b > 2.
Quenching occurs from Tb to Tw.
Combining Eqns 8.35-8.37,
Tb Tw
&F hc )( dL)) k (2 L)
d /b
2kb Tb Tw
m&F hc

Assuming Tw = Tu, using Eqn 8.20 (about SL), and relating

hc ( 1)c p (Tb Tu )
. , Eqn 8.38b becomes

d = 2b /SL (8.39a)
Relating Eqn 8.21 (about ), Eqn 8.39a becomes
d = 2b
Because b 2, value d is always > . Values of d for fuels
are shown Table 8.4.
Table 8.4 Flammability limits, quenching distances
and minimum ignition energies
Flammability limit Quenching distance, d

min max Stoich-mass For =1 Absolute

air-fuel ratio min, mm
C2H2 0.19 13.3 2.3 -
CO 0.34 6.76 2.46 - -
C10H22 0.36 3.92 15.0 2.1 -
C2H6 0.50 2.72 16.0 2.3 1.8
C2H4 0.41 > 6.1 14.8 1.3 -
H2 0.14 2.54 34.5 0.64 0.61
CH4 0.46 1.64 17.2 2.5 2.0
CH3OH 0.48 4.08 6.46 1.8 1.5
C8H18 0.51 4.25 15.1 - -
CH 0.51 2.83 15.6 2.0 1.8
Fuel Minimum ignition energy
For =1 (10-5 J) Absolute
minimum (10-5 J)
C2H2 3 -

CO - -

C10H22 - -

C2H6 42 24

C2H4 9.6 -

H2 2.0 1.8

CH4 33 29

CH3OH 21.5 14

C8H18 - -

C3H8 30.5 26
Example 8.4.
Consider the design of a laminar-flow, adiabatic,
flat-flame burner consisting of a square
arrangement of thin-walled tubes as illustrated in
the sketch below.
Fuel-air mixture flows through both the tubes and
the interstices between the tubes.
It is desired operate the burner with a
stoichiometric methane-air mixture exiting the
tubes at 300 K and 5 atm
Determine the mixture mass flowrate per unit
cross-sectional area at the design condition.
Estimate the maximum tube diameter allowed so
that flashback will be prevented.
To establish a flat flame, the mean flow velocity must equal
the laminar flame at the design temperature and pressure.
From Fig. 8.14,
SL (300K, 5atm) = 43/P (atm) = 43/5 = 19.2cm/s.
The mass flux, , m & is
m& = m&/ A = uu = uSL
Assuming an ideal-gas mixture, where
MWmix = CH4MWCH4 + (1 - CH4)MWair
= 0.095(16.04) + 0.905(28.85)
= 27.6 kg/kmol =5.61kg/m3
(Stoichimetric mass ratio air/ methane = 17.2, see Table
Thus, the mass flux is m & = uSL = 5.61(0.192)= 1.08
We assume that if the tube diameter < the quench
distance (d), with some factor-of-safety applied,
the burner will operate without danger of
Thus, we need to find the quench distance at the
design conditions.
Fig. 8.16 shows that dslit 1.7 mm. Since dslit = dtube
(20-50%), use dslit outright (our case) with factor
of safety 20-50%. Data in Fig 8.16 is for slit,
design is of tube.
Correction for 5 atm:
Eqn. 8.39a, d /SL
Eqn 8.27, T1.75/P
d2 = d1 2 S L ,1 d1 P1 S L ,1
1 S L ,2 P2 S L ,2
d(5atm) =1.7mm. 1 atm 43 cm / s
5 atm 19.2 cm / s
ddesign 0.76 mm
Check whether d=0.76 mm gives laminar flow (Re d
< 2300).
u d design S L 5.61(0.00076)(0.192)
Re d 51.5
15.89.10 6

Flow is still laminar

2. Flammability Limits
A flame will propagate only within a range of
mixture the so-called lower and upper limits of
flammability. The limit is the leanest mixture ( <
1), while the upper limit represents the richest
mixture ( > 1). = (A/F)stoich /(A/F)actual by mass or
by mole
Flammability limits are frequently quoted as %fuel
by volume in the mixture, or as a % of the
stoichiometric fuel requirement, i.e., ( x 100%).
Table 8.4 shows flammability limits of some fuels
Flammability limits for a number of fuel-air
mixtures at atmospheric pressure is obtained from
experiments employing "tube method".
In this method, it is ascertained whether or not a
flame initiated at the bottom of a vertical tube
(approximately 50-mm diameter by 1.2-m long)
propagates the length of the tube.
A mixture that sustains the flame is said to be
flammable. By adjusting the mixture strength, the
flammability limit can be ascertained.
Although flammability limits are physico-chemical
properties of the fuel-air mixture, experimental
flammability limits are related to losses from the
system, in addition to the mixture properties, and,
hence, generally apparatus dependent [31].
Example 8.5.
A full C3H8 cylinder from a camp stove leaks its
contents of 1.02 lb (0.464 kg) in 12' x 14' x 8' (3.66
m x 4.27 m x 2.44 m) room at 20oC and 1 atm.
After a long time fuel gas and room air are well
mixed. Is the mixture in the room flammable?

From Table 8.4, we see that C3H8-air mixtures are
flammable for 0.51 < < 2.83. Our problem, thus,
is to determine of the mixture filling the room.
Partial pressure of C3H8 by assuming ideal-gas
mF Ru / MWF T 0.464(8315/44.094)(20 273)
Vroom 3.66(4.27)(2.44)
= 672.3 Pa
Propane mole fraction =
F = PF/P = 672.3/101,325 = 0.00664
air = 1 - F = 0.99336
The air-fuel ratio of the mixture in the room is
(A/F)act = MW 0.99336 (28.85)
air air
fuel MW fuel 0.00664 (44.094)
From the definition of and the value of (A/F)stoich
from Table 8.4 (i.e. 15.6 by mass ratio), we have
= (A/F)stoich /(A/F)act = 15.6/97.88 = 0.159
Since = 0.159 < lower limit (= 0. 51), the mixture in
the room is not capable of supporting a flame.
Although our calculations show that in the fully
mixed state the mixture is not flammable, it is quite
possible that, during the transient leaking process,
a flammable mixture can exist somewhere within
the room.
C3H8 is heavier than air and would tend to
accumulate near the floor until it is mixed by bulk
motion and molecular diffusion.
In environments employing flammable gases,
monitors should be located at both low and high
positions to detect leakage of heavy and light
fuels, respectively.
3. Ignition
Most of ignition uses electrical spark (pemantik
listrik). Another means is using pilot ignition (flame
from very low-flow fuel).

Simplified Ignition Analysis

Consider Williams second criterion, applied to a
spherical volume of gas, which represents the
incipient propagating flame created by a point
spark. Using the criterion:
Find a critical gas-volume radius, Rcrit, below
which flame will not propagate
Find minimum ignition energy, Eign, to heat critical
gas volume from initial state to flame temperature
(Tu to Tb).
Critical radius, Rcrit, and Eign
Q&V Q&conduction
(8.41) dT
m&F hc 4 R
crit / 3 k 4 R
dr Rcrit
where is mass flowrate/volume
Heat transfer process is shown in Figure 8.20

Tb T u

dr Rcrit Rcrit
Substitution Eqn 8.42 to 8.41 results in
3k Tb Tu
m&F hc
Rcrit is therefore determined by the flame propagation
If R < Rcrit, it would require exothermic heat > hc
Substituting from Eqn 8.20 into Eqn 8.43 will give

R 6
6/2 (8.44)

Ignition is aimed to increase fluid from Tu to Tb at

the onset of combustion to replace hc (ignition)
E m c T T
ign crit p b
where Eign is minimum ignition energy
Substitution mcrit=b.4Rcrit3/3 and b using gas
ideal formulae to Eqn 8.45 results in
c p Tb Tu (8.47)
Eign 61,6 P
Rb Tb S L
where Rb = Ru/MWb and Ru = gas constant
4. Dependencies on Pressure, Temperature
and Composition

Using Eqn 8.27 and 8.29 on Eqn 8.47

demonstrates effect of pressure to be
Eign P-2 (8.48)
(see comparison with experimental result in Fig

Eqn 8.47 implies that in general, Tu Eign (see

Table 8.5).
Eign vs %fuel gives U-shaped plot (Figures 8.22
and 8.23). This figure indicates that Eign is
minimum as a mixture composition is
stoichiometric or near it.
If the mixture gets leaner atau richer, Eign
increases first gradually and then abruptly. %fuel
at Eign = to be ignited are flammability limits
Figure 8.22. Effect of %fuel on Eign

Figure 8.22. Effect of %fuel on Eign

Figure 8.23. Effect of methane composition on Eign
Table 8.5 Temperature influence
on spark-ignition energy

Fuel Initial temp (K) Eign (mJ)

n-heptane 298 14.5
373 6.7
444 3.2
Iso-octane 298 27.0
373 11.0
444 4.8
n-pentane 243 45.0
253 14.5
Fuel Initial temp (K) Eign (mJ)
n-heptane 298 7.8
373 4.2
444 2.3
propane 233 11.7
243 9.7
253 8.4
298 5.5
331 4.2
356 3.6
373 3.5
477 1.4
Turns, Stephen R., An Introduction to
Combustion, Concepts and Applications , 2nd
edition, McGrawHill, 2000