Experimental and numerical investigation of premixed flame propagation with distorted tulip shape in a closed duct

Huahua Xiao, Dmitriy Makarov, Jinhua Sun, Vladimir Molkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Citations (Scopus)


High-speed schlieren photography, pressure records and large eddy simulation (LES) model are used to study the shape changes, dynamics of premixed flame propagation and pressure build up in a closed duct. The study provides further understanding of the interaction between flame front, pressure wave and combustion-generated flow, especially when the flame acquires a ‘‘distorted tulip’’ shape. The Ulster multi-phenomena LES premixed combustion model is applied to gain an insight into the phenomenon of ‘‘distorted tulip’’ flame and explain the experimental observations. The model accounts for the effects of flow turbulence, turbulence generated by flame front itself, selective diffusion, and transient pressure and temperature on the turbulent burning velocity. The schlieren images show that the flame exhibits a salient ‘‘distorted tulip’’ shape with two secondary cusps superimposed onto the two original tulip lips. This curious flame shape appears after a well-pronounced classical tulip flame is formed. The dynamics of ‘‘distorted tulip’’ flame observed in the experiment is well reproduced by LES. The numerical simulations show that large-scale vortices are generated in the burnt gas after the formation of a classical tulip flame. The vortices remain in the proximity of the flame front and modify the flow field around the flame front. As a result, the flame front in the original cusp and near the sidewalls propagates faster than that close to the centre of the original tulip lips. The discrepancy in the flame propagation rate finally leads to the formation of the ‘‘distorted tulip’’ flame. The LES model validated previously against large-scale hydrogen/air deflagrations is successfully applied in this study to reproduce the dynamics of flame propagation and pressure build up in the small-scale duct. It is confirmed that grid resolution has an influence to a certain extent on the simulated combustion dynamics after the flame inversion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1538
JournalCombustion and Flame
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2012


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