Premixed Turbulent Combustion Of Producer Gas In Closed Vessel And Engine Cylinder
Yarasu, Ravindra Babu
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Producer gas derived from biomass is one of the most environment friendly substitutes to the fossil fuels. Usage of producer gas for power generation has effect of zero net addition of CO2 in atmosphere. The engines working on producer gas have potential to decrease the dependence on conventional fuels for power generation. However, the combustion process is governed by complex interactions between chemistry and fluid dynamics, some of which are not completely understood. Improved knowledge of combustion is, therefore, of vital importance for both direct use in the design of engines, and for the evolution of reliable simulation tools for engine development. The present work is related to the turbulent combustion of producer gas in closed vessels and engine cylinders. The main objective of the work was multi-dimensional simulation of turbulent combustion in the bowl-in-piston engine operating on producer gas fuel and to observe the flame and flow field interaction. First, the combustion model was validated in constant volume combustion chamber with experimental results. Experimental turbulent combustion data of producer gas (composition matching with engine operating conditions) was presented. The required data of laminar burning velocity of producer gas was computed and used in the simulation of turbulent combustion in closed vessel. The effect of squish and reverse squish flow on flame propagation in the bowl-in-piston engine cylinder was described. Laminar burning velocity of unstretched flame was computed using flame code which was developed earlier in this laboratory. One dimensional computations of unstretched planar flame were made to calculate laminar burning velocity of the producer gas-air mixture at pressures (1-10 bar) and temperatures (300-600 K). A correlation of laminar burning velocity of producer gas as a function of pressure and temperature was fitted and compared with experiments. A fixed composition and equivalence ratio of producer gas-air mixture, typical of the engine operating conditions, was considered. The correlation was used in simulation of turbulent combustion in closed vessel. The turbulent combustion experiments with producer gas-air mixture were conducted in a closed vessel. The aim of experiments was to generate pressure-time data, in closed vessel during turbulent flame propagation, which was required to validate turbulent combustion models. Determination of (ST /SL) was made from pressure-time data which requires corresponding laminar combustion data with same initial conditions. For this purpose a set of laminar combustion experiments was conducted. Experimental setup consists of a constant volume combustion chamber of cubical shape and size 80 x 80 x 80 mm3 . The initial mixtures pressure and temperature were 1 bar and 300 K respectively. A fixed composition and equivalence ratio of producer gas-air mixture, typical of the engine operating conditions, was used. The composition of producer gas was H2 -19.61%, CO2 -19.68%, CH4 -2.52%, CO2 -12.55% and N2 -45.64% on volume basis. Fuel-air mixture was ignited with electric spark at the center of the cube. Initial turbulence in the chamber was created by moving a perforated plate with specified velocity. Perforated plate was placed in chamber so that the central hole in the plate passes over the spark electrodes as it sweeps across the chamber. Two geometrically similar plates with hole diameter of 5 and 10 mm were used. The new experimental setup constructed as a part of this work was first tested with one set of experiments each with methane and propane data of SL and ST /SL from the literature. Maximum turbulent intensity (u’) achieved was 1.092 ms−1 . The ratios of turbulent to laminar burning velocity (ST /SL) values were determined at six different turbulence intensity levels. Laminar combustion experiments were extended to elevated initial pressures 2-5 bar and temperature 300 K. The value of SL was calculated from the pressure-time history recorded during laminar stretching flame propagation inside closed vessel. These SL values were compared with computed SL,∞ after accounting for stretch. Turbulent combustion simulations were carried out to validate combustion models suitable for multi-dimensional CFD simulation of combustion in constant volume closed chamber. Two models proposed by Choi and Huh, based on Flame Surface Density (FSD) were tested with the present experimental results. User FORTRAN code for the source terms in transport equation of FSD was implemented in ANSYS-CFX 10.0 software. First model called CFM1, grossly under-predicted the rate of combustion. The second model called CFM2, predicted the results satisfactorily after replacing the arbitrary length scale with turbulent integral length scale (lt) having a limiting value near the wall. The modified CFM2 model was able to predict the propagation phase of the developed flame satisfactorily, though the duration for initial flame development was over-predicted by the model. CFD simulation of producer gas engine combustion process was carried out using ANSYSCFX software. Mesh deformation option was used to take care of moving boundaries such as piston and valve surfaces. The fluid domain expands during suction process and contracts during compression process. In order to avoid excessive distortion of the mesh elements, a series of meshes at different crank angle positions were generated and checked for their quality during mesh motion in the solver. For suction process simulation, unstructured meshes having 0.1 to 0.3 million cells were used. During the compression and combustion process simulations, structured meshes having 40,000 to 0.1 million cells were used. k-ε model was used for turbulence simulation. The suction, compression and combustion processes of an SI engine were simulated. Initial flame kernel was given by providing high flame surface density in a small volume comparable to the spark size at the time of ignition. The flame surface density model, CFM-2, was adapted with the modification of length scale tested against constant volume experiments. A suitable limiting value was used to avoid abnormal flame propagation near the wall. The limiting value of integral length scale (lt) near the wall was determined by linear extrapolation of the integral length scale in the domain to the wall. Engine p - θ curves of three different ignition timings 26°, 12° and 6°before top dead center (TDC) were simulated and compared with earlier experimental results. The effects of flow field on flame propagation have been observed. A comparison of the simulated and experimental p - θ diagram of the engine for all above cases gave mixed results. For the ignition timing at 26° before TDC case, predicted peak pressure value was 17% higher and at 3° earlier than those of the experimental peak. For the other two cases, the predicted peak pressure value was 28% lower and 5° later than those of the experimental peak. The reason for under-prediction of the pressure values could be due to the delay in development of initial flame kernel. Simulated pressure curves have offset about 3-4° compared to the experimental pressure curves. It was observed that in all predicted p - θ cases, there was a delay in the initial flame development. It is evident from the under-prediction of pressure values, especially in the initial flame kernel development phase and it also affects the p - θ curve at later stage. The delay was about 3-4° of crank angle rotation in various cases. The delay in predicting the initial flame development needs to be corrected in order to predict the combustion process properly. The proposed FSD model seems to have capability to predict p - θ values fairly in the propagation phase of developed flame. Reasonably good match was obtained by advancing the ignition timing in the computation by about 3-4° compared to the experimental setting. In the bowl-in-piston engine cylinders, the flow in the cylinder is characterised by squish and reverse squish when the piston is moving towards and away from the top dead center (TDC) respectively. The effect of squish and reverse squish flow on flame propagation has been assessed. For the more advanced ignition case, i.e., 26° before TDC, The flame propagation did not have favorable effect by the flow field. The direction of flame propagation was against the squish and reverse squish flow. This resulted in suppressed peak velocities in the cylinder compared the motoring process. Hence the burning rate was not augmented by the turbulence inside the cylinder. For the ignition 12° before TDC case, the flame propagation did have favorable effect by the flow field. During the reverse squish period, the flame had reached the bowl wall. At this stage, the flame was pushing the reactants out and this augments the reverse-squish flow, and hence the maximum reverse-squish velocity was increased to 2.03 times the peak reverse-squish velocity of motoring case. The reverse-squish flow was distorting the flame from spherical shape and the flame gets stretched. Flame surface enters the cylindrical region faster compared to the previous case. The stretched flame in the reverse-squish flow may be considered as reverse squish flame, as was proposed earlier by Sridhar G. The burn rate during the reverse squish period may be 2 to 2.5 times the normal burn rate. For the ignition 6° before TDC case, the flame was very small in size and it did not affect the flow in squish period. During the reverse squish period, the flame radius was moderate compared to the bowl radius. The flame was pushing the reactants out and it increased the maximum reverse-squish velocity to 1.3 times by the flame. In this case, the reverse-squish flow moderately affecting the flame shapes. The results of this study could give an idea of what ignition timing must be kept for favorable use of flow field inside the engine cylinder. Main contributions from the present work are: Multi-dimensional simulation of combustion process inside the engine cylinder operating on producer gas was carried out to examine flame/flow field interactions. Two models based on FSD were first tested against present experimental results in constant volume combustion chamber. In CFM2 model; a modification of replacing the arbitrary length scale by integral length scale with a limiting value near the wall was suggested to avoid prediction of abnormally large turbulent burning velocity near the wall. This combustion model has been implemented in ANSYS-CFX10. The required data of laminar and turbulent burning velocities of producer gas-air mixture has been determined by experiments and computations at varied initial pressures and turbulent intensities. Finally, the simulated engine pressure data has been compared with earlier experimental data of the engine operating on producer gas. The proposed FSD model has the capability to match well with the experimental results except for the initial flame kernel development phase. Even though this issue needs to be resolved, the work has brought out the important interaction between the flame propagation and flow field within the bowl-in-piston engine cylinder.