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Mixing and Entrainment of Transitional non circular plumes

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57

Non-Circular Buoyant Reactive Plumes

X. JIANG and K.H. LUO

Department of Engineering, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London,

London E1 4NS, U.K.; E-mail: x.jiang@qmw.ac.uk

Received 17 April 2001; accepted in revised form 8 October 2001

Abstract. Three-dimensional spatial direct numerical simulation is used to investigate the evolution

of reactive plumes established on non-circular sources. Simulations are performed for three cases:

a rectangular plume with an aspect ratio of 2:1, a square plume, and the square plume in a corner

configuration. Buoyancy-induced large scale vortical structures evolve spatially in the flow field. A

stronger tendency of transition to turbulence is observed for the free rectangular plume than the free

square case due to the aspect ratio effect. Dynamics of the corner square plume differs significantly

from the corresponding free case due to the enhanced mixing by the side-wall effects. A turbulent

inertial subrange has been observed for the free rectangular and corner square plumes. Mean flow

properties are also calculated. The study shows significant effects of source geometry and side-wall

boundary on the flow transition and entrainment of reactive plumes.

Key words: buoyancy, DNS, entrainment, mixing, non-premixed flame, reaction, transition.

1. Introduction

Reactive jets and plumes are encountered in many industrial and environmental

applications. Understanding their mixing and entrainment properties is of both

practical and fundamental importance. The spatial development of a jet depends

on its initial momentum and the surrounding environment. For a plume, buoyancy

effects due to density inhomogeneity are also of importance. Major sources of

density inhomogeneity include temperature inhomogeneity due to heat release,

differences in density of chemical species and phase changes. All of these may

occur in one reactive flow.

Despite the numerous experimental and computational studies [5, 7, 12], dynamics of jets and plumes is far from being well understood. For instance, effects

of the geometry of jet nozzle or plume source have not been fully investigated. On

the other hand, optimizing the nozzle geometry is potentially an efficient technique

of passive flow control that can improve combustion efficiency, enhance heat and

mass transfer, and reduce undesired emissions at a relatively low cost. Non-circular

jet nozzles, for example, have been used to improve the mixing and entrainment of

reactive and non-reactive systems [12]. For reactive plumes, another outstanding

58

issue is the side-wall effects, which is important in applications such as fire control

but has not been fully investigated.

Dynamics of reactive plumes is a difficult problem to tackle. The complexities

include the effects of plume source geometry and side-walls, together with the coupling between fluid dynamics and combustion through buoyancy. Buoyancy effects

are important to low speed reactive flows. In experiments, it is difficult to separate

the individual effects. Accurate measurements of the instantaneous quantities and

flow field data are not easy either. In analytical approaches, it is very difficult to take

into account the non-parallel effects due to strong entrainment and the effects of

source geometry and surroundings. Numerical approaches based on the ReynoldsAveraged NavierStokes equations (RANS) have been used in the modelling of

reactive plumes for many years [5]. However, the RANS approach is inappropriate to investigate unsteady reactive plumes involving transition, intermittency and

turbulence.

Direct numerical simulation (DNS) which directly resolves all the relevant time

and length scales described in the NavierStokes equations provides a possibility

to study the complex phenomena occurring in reactive plumes. Recently, a direct

and large-eddy simulation of the transition of plane plumes in a confined enclosure

was reported for a non-reacting flow with Boussinesq approximation for the effect

of buoyancy by Bastiaans et al. [1], in which no clear turbulent inertial subrange

was present. The present authors [17] performed a spatial DNS of the near field

dynamics of a rectangular reactive plume. The spatially developing reactive plume

showed a tendency of transition to turbulence under the effects of combustioninduced buoyancy. However, the effects of plume source geometry and side-walls

were not fully investigated.

The main objective of this study is to examine the plume source geometry

and side-wall effects on the near field dynamics of a buoyant reactive plume,

which belongs to diffusion-controlled non-premixed flames. Chemical reactions

produce heat sources heterogeneously distributed. Under the buoyancy effects due

to temperature inhomogeneity, the reactive plume evolves spatially with transition

occurring downstream. A comparative study of three cases has been conducted.

The first case performed is a rectangular reactive plume with an aspect ratio of 2:1

in an open boundary domain, while the second case performed is a square reactive

plume with the same cross-sectional area as the rectangular case. The third case

considered is the square reactive plume in a corner configuration. The simulations

describe details of the reactive plume evolution through transition to turbulence.

Results are discussed in terms of instantaneous quantities, history of the streamwise

velocities and energy spectra, vorticity transport, and time-averaged statistics.

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Mathematical description of the

physical problem and numerical method used for the spatial DNS are presented in

the next section, followed by a discussion on the simulation results from a comparative study of the effects of source geometry and side-walls on the dynamics of

non-circular buoyant reactive plumes. Finally, conclusions are drawn.

59

2. Numerical Approach

2.1. M ATHEMATICAL DESCRIPTION

Flow transition to turbulence in reactive jets and plumes occurs in the near field,

which is the region close to the jet nozzle or plume source. In this study, the near

field of transitional buoyant reactive plumes is considered, where a fuel jet issues

from the non-circular nozzle vertically into an oxidant ambient. Combustion occurs

when fuel/oxidizer mixing takes place and a non-premixed flame is established

above the inlet plane.

The governing equations used to describe the reactive flow field above the inlet

plane are the compressible time-dependent NavierStokes equations with temperature-dependent viscosity. The conservation laws for mass, momentum, energy and

chemical species formulated in non-dimensional forms are adopted. Major refer

= 9.81 m/s2 , magnitude of the

ence quantities used in the normalization are: gref

gravitational acceleration; Lref = L0 , width of the fuel jet along the major axis of

= w0 , the maxthe rectangular source; Tref

imum velocity of the fuel jet at the inlet; ref = a , fuel viscosity at the ambient

temperature; ref

is non-dimensionalized with tref

fuel jet (source) and ambient respectively and the superscript stands for dimensional quantities. The dynamic viscosity is chosen to be temperature-dependent

according to = a (T /Ta )0.76 .

The non-dimensional governing equations can be written in a vector form as

U E F G

+

+

+

+ S = 0.

t

x

y

z

(1)

(vertical) direction, the x-direction is aligned with the minor axis of the rectangular

fuel jet at the inlet, while the y-coordinate is along the major axis. The terms

major and minor used here refer to the dimensions of the rectangular inlet.

For square geometry, this difference vanishes. The velocity components in the x,

y, and z directions are represented by u, v, and w respectively. In Equation (1),

vectors U, E, F, G and S are defined as U = (, u, v, w, ET , Yf , Yo )T

with the superscript T representing transposition,

u2 + p xx

uv xy

uw

xz

E =

,

(ET + p)u + qx uxx vxy wxz

Yf

1

uYf Re Sc x

Yo

1

uYo Re Sc x

60

uv xy

2

v

+ p yy

vw yz

F =

(ET + p)v + qy uxy vyy wyz

Yf

1

vY

f

Re Sc

y

o

vYo Re1Sc Y

y

uw

xz

vw yz

w 2 + p zz

G =

(ET + p)w + qz uxz vyz wzz

wYf Re1Sc zf

o

wYo Re1Sc Y

z

(a )gz

S =

.

Fr

(a )wgz

h

Fr

f

o

and

and (a )wgz /Fr in the streamwise momentum equation and energy equation,

L0 ) and gz = 1

respectively, where Froude number is defined as F r = w0 2 /(gref

is the gravity imposed in the downward vertical direction. The governing equations

also include the perfect gas law for the mixture.

In Equation (1), ET = [e + (u2 + v 2 + w 2 )/2] is the total energy with e representing the internal energy per unit mass, q represents the heat flux components,

Re and Sc represent the Reynolds and Schmidt numbers, respectively, Y stands

for mass fraction of the chemical species. Currently, a complete three-dimensional

(3D) DNS of reactive flows with multi-species transport and complex chemistry is

still out of reach [2], due to the excessive computer resources required. In this study,

a one-step global reaction f Mf +o Mo p Mp with finite-rate Arrhenius kinetics is presumed for the chemistry, where Mi and i represent the chemical symbol

and stoichiometric coefficient for species i, respectively. The subscripts f , o, p

stand for fuel, oxidizer and product, respectively. The reaction rate takes the form

61

[21], where Da, Ze, and Tfl are the Damkhler number, Zeldovich number, and

flame temperature, respectively, Wi stands for the molecular weight of species i.

The reaction rates for individual species are f = f Wf T , o = o Wo T

and p = p Wp T . The heat release rate in the energy equation is given by

h = Qh T with Qh representing the heat of combustion.

2.2. N UMERICAL METHODS

The equations are solved using a sixth-order compact finite difference scheme [19]

with spectral-like resolution for evaluation of the spatial derivatives. This scheme

allows more flexibility in the specification of boundary conditions with minimal

loss of accuracy compared with spectral methods. A third-order accurate fullyexplicit compact-storage RungeKutta scheme is used to advance the equations in

time. The time step is limited by the CourantFriedrichsLewy (CFL) condition for

stability. It is further limited by the reaction rate, an increase in local mass fraction

of product of more than 0.01% is prevented for one time step. For DNS of reactive

flows, the time step is usually limited by the chemical restraint.

The specification of the boundary conditions is performed by using the general

formulation of characteristic boundary conditions for DNS of NavierStokes equations by Poinsot and Lele [24]. The 3D computational domain is bounded by the

inflow and outflow boundaries in the streamwise direction. At the inflow boundary,

temperature is treated as a soft variable while other variables are imposed with

their initial values. A soft variable means that the temperature is allowed to

fluctuate around the prescribed value, which is associated with the characteristic

wave variations at this boundary. This treatment guarantees the numerical stability

of the high-order numerical scheme near the boundary, while the fluctuation of

temperature with time is less than 0.5% of its prescribed value in the simulations

performed.

The outflow boundary condition needs careful attention since vortices are being

convected through this boundary and the flow field outside the domain is unknown.

At the outflow boundary, non-reflecting characteristic boundary condition [25] is

used. In order to completely eliminate the spurious wave reflections, a sponge layer

[15] is applied next to the outflow boundary. This is because that the non-reflecting

characteristic boundary condition is based on a one-dimensional formulation, but

the flow near the outlet is of multi-dimensional nature due to the convection of

vortices. The computational results in the sponge layer are not truly physical and

therefore not used in the data analysis.

In the cross-streamwise directions, the flow field is either open or bounded by

the side-walls. For the open boundary, the entrainment boundary condition [15] is

used, which allows entrainment of the ambient fluid into the computational domain.

For the side-wall boundary condition, the wall is assumed to be impermeable and

non-slip. The wall temperature is determined from the characteristic form of the

62

energy equation by applying the local one-dimensional inviscid relations for a wall

boundary [24], which allows variations of the wall temperature.

Atop-hat profile is assumed for the streamwise velocity of the fuel jet on the

inlet plane, which is given by

{1 + tanh[20 (sx |x Lx /2|)]} {1 + tanh[20 (sy |y|)]}

,

w=

[1 + tanh(20 sx ) + tanh(20 sy ) + tanh(20 sx ) tanh(20 sy )]

while the cross-streamwise velocity components are taken as zero on the inlet

plane. The inlet plane is of the dimension of (0 Lx , Ly /2 Ly /2), where Lx

and Ly stand for the inlet domain lengths in the minor and major axis directions,

respectively, and s stands for the half-width of the fuel source on the inlet plane.

The fuel and oxidizer are unmixed on the inlet plane and the fuel jet is centered in

the inlet domain. In the simulations, the fuel temperature at the source is assumed

to be 3, which was chosen to ensure auto-ignition of the mixture [10, 11, 26].

Ignition occurs automatically when the fuel and oxidizer mix with each other. The

temperature and streamwise velocity profiles on the inlet plane are linked with the

CroccoBusemann relation.

The flow field inside the domain is initialized with the inlet conditions. Buoyant

jets and plumes display an intrinsic, absolutely unstable flow instability [14, 16,

20, 22] in which vortices evolve naturally in the flow field due to the gravitational

effect [16]. For such as an absolute instability, there is no need to apply continuous

external perturbations at the inflow boundary for the development of flow vortices

[15, 16, 18]. In order to isolate the absolute buoyancy instability from the convective shear instability, external perturbations were not used at the inflow boundary

in the simulations performed. The external stimulus to initiate flow vortices in

the numerical simulations can arise from a mismatch between the imposed initial

conditions and solutions to the flow field. For the present spatial simulations, initial

conditions are of minor importance after the initial transient period.

3. Results and Discussion

In the plume near field, buoyancy effects such as flow acceleration on the resolution

set a limit on the minimum value of the Froude number that can be prescribed in

a DNS under a certain number of grid points [6]. In this study, the Froude number

Fr = 1.5 used has been chosen so that the buoyant reactive flow field can be fully

resolved. The nominal flow Reynolds number used in the simulations is Re =

1000, which is based on the inlet reference quantities. The species are assumed to

be of equal diffusivity. The ratio of specific heats, Prandtl and Schmidt numbers

used in the simulations are chosen to be constants: = 1.4, Pr = 1 and Sc = 1.

The parameters used for the chemical reaction are: Da = 6, Ze = 12, Tfl = 6, and

Qh = 1650. These values are chosen to mimic the behavior of a relatively low heat

release combustion within the computational resources available.

For the free rectangular case, a computational domain of the size of 3 6

8 is used, which has been chosen to minimize the effects of boundaries on the

63

simulation results. The area of the fuel jet is 0.51.0 on the inlet plane. For the free

square case, the domain size used is 4.254.258.50 which has approximately the

same cross-sectional area as the rectangular case, while the fuel jet source area is

approximately 0.71 0.71. The results presented next are obtained from a uniform

grid system with 108 216 288 nodes for the free rectangular case and a uniform

grid system with 152 152 304 nodes for the free square case. The corner

square case performed is of the same size as the free square case with side-wall

boundaries located at x = 0 and y = Ly /2. For this case, more grid points are

needed to fully resolve the flow field between the wall and plume. A grid system

with 188 188 376 nodes is used for this corner square case. For a sufficiently

small reference length scale (e.g. Lref 1 cm), the grid points used in these three

cases are sufficient to resolve the energy spectra of the relevant physical problems.

In the simulations, the sponge layer used to prevent the spurious wave reflections

from the outflow boundary is located between z = 7.0 and the end of the domain

in the streamwise direction. For clarity, some results shown in the figures are for a

box which is smaller than the computational domain used.

Simulations have been performed on the massively parallel computer Cray T3E1200E in Manchester by using 72 processors for the free rectangular case, 76

processors for the free square case and 94 processors for the corner square case. In

this study, grid independence and time-step independence tests were performed. A

spatial resolution study was performed by adding 20% more grid points in each direction for the corner square case, while a temporal resolution study was performed

by reducing the time step by half. In both cases, history of the vorticity extrema in

the computational domain and typical instantaneous velocity profiles showed no

appreciable changes. Therefore the results presented next are considered as grid

and time-step independent. In the following, instantaneous quantities are shown

first to discuss the dynamics and structure of the transitional flow fields, followed

by the time-averaged flow statistics of the reactive plumes.

Buoyancy-driven large scale vortical structures are the characteristics of both reactive and non-reactive plumes in the transitional regime, and the breakdown of

these vortical structures leads to turbulence in the flow field [3, 4]. Figure 1 shows

the instantaneous 3D visualizations of the vorticity magnitude at t = 23.0 and

t = 24.0 of the corner square reactive plume. A diagram showing the inlet plane

and the Cartesian coordinates is also included. The three components of the vorticity are x = w/y v/z, y = u/z w/x, and z = v/x u/y,

respectively. The quantity shown in Figure 1 is (x2 +y2 +z2)1/2 . It can be observed

that large vortical structures evolve spatially in the flow field.

Figures 24 show the contour plots on the center plane x = Lx /2 of the

corner square plume at the two different times, corresponding to the 3D plots in

Figure 1. In the near field, buoyant jets and plumes display a puffing or flick-

64

of the corner square reactive plume.

Figure 2. Fuel mass fraction contours on the x = Lx /2 plane at t = 23.0 and t = 24.0 of the

corner square reactive plume (15 contours between the minimum and maximum as indicated).

65

Figure 3. Reaction rate contours on the x = Lx /2 plane at t = 23.0 and t = 24.0 of the

corner square reactive plume (15 contours between the minimum and maximum as indicated).

Figure 4. Temperature contours on the x = Lx /2 plane at t = 23.0 and t = 24.0 of the corner

square reactive plume (15 contours between the minimum and maximum as indicated).

66

Figure 5. Temperature contours on the z = 1.0 and z = 5.0 planes at t = 24.0 of the corner

square reactive plume (15 contours between the minimum and maximum as indicated).

ering phenomenon [3, 4, 1518, 20, 22], which is associated with the formation

and convection of buoyancy-induced large vortical structures. The flow exhibits

approximately a periodic behavior near the plume source due to the puffing or

flickering. The times t = 23.0 and t = 24.0 shown in these figures are within one

pulsation period of the plume. The necking phenomenon close to the inlet plane

can be seen clearly. One prominent feature in Figures 24 is that the flow field is

less coherent downstream due to the breakdown of the large vortical structures,

which indicates the emergence of small scale turbulence in the flow field.

For a non-premixed flame, the flow must satisfy two criteria for a significant

reaction to occur: both the fuel and oxidizer must be well mixed at a given point

in the field and the temperature must be high enough at that point. The chemical

reactivity of the corner square plume is evident from Figures 2 and 3, which show

the fuel mass fraction and reaction rate T contours, respectively. The fuel is being

consumed by the chemical reaction when the fuel/oxidizer mixing takes place. The

unburnt fuel being convected out of the computational box for this corner square

case is less than 20%. The chemical reaction is rather weak at the downstream

location z = 6.0 near the outlet as shown in the reaction rate contours. Chemical

heat release also increases the local temperature in the reaction zone, as shown in

Figure 4. From the temperature contours, a disorganized flow regime downstream

of the reactive plume characterized by small scales due to the breakdown of large

scale structures is also evident.

Figure 5 shows temperature contours on the z = 1.0 and z = 5.0 planes at

t = 24.0 of the corner square plume. The complex 3D structures in the noncircular reactive plume are evident. It is noticed that the corner square reactive

plume remains symmetric about the bisector of the domain. Unlike the simulations of non-buoyant reactive jets performed by Grinstein and Kailasanath [10,

67

Figure 6. Temperature contours on the z = 1.0 and z = 5.0 planes at t = 24.0 of the free

square reactive plume (15 contours between the minimum and maximum as indicated).

Figure 7. Temperature contours on the z = 1.0 and z = 5.0 planes at t = 24.0 of the free

rectangular reactive plume (15 contours between the minimum and maximum as indicated).

11], external perturbations were not used at the inflow boundary in the simulations

performed, in order to isolate the absolutely unstable buoyancy instability [14, 16,

20, 22] from the shear instability. Therefore the flow remains symmetric due to

the geometric symmetry of the physical problem and absence of external disturbances. Nevertheless, transition to turbulence still occurs in the flow field due to

the buoyancy and 3D vortex stretching effects.

For comparison, Figures 6 and 7 show the temperature contours of the free

square and free rectangular cases at the two different vertical locations at t = 24.0,

corresponding to those shown in Figure 5 for the corner square case. At the location

z = 1.0 which is close to the fuel source, both the free square and free rectangular

reactive plumes resemble their original shapes specified on the inlet plane. At the

68

downstream location z = 5.0, complex structures are developed with the spatial

development of the flow field, which are characteristics of the non-circular plumes.

For the comparison between the two square cases shown in Figures 5 and 6, it is

noticed that the reactive plume in a corner configuration spreads more in the lateral

directions than the free case at the downstream location. This is mainly because of

the recirculation zones formed between the wall and plume [1]. With the presence

of impermeable and non-slip side-wall boundaries, mixing between the reactive

plume and its ambient is enhanced by the strong recirculation, therefore the corner

square plume has larger spreading.

For the comparison between the two free cases shown in Figures 6 and 7,

it is also noticed that the free rectangular reactive plume spreads more than the

free square case at the downstream location. This can be explained by the selfinduced BiotSavart vortex-ring deformation associated with non-circular nozzle

geometries [9, 12], which is responsible for the complex 3D structures in the flow

field. The differences between the free rectangular and free square cases originate

from the aspect ratio effect of the rectangular source. Gutmark and Grinstein [12]

summarized the application of stability theory to non-circular jets, which identified the aspect ratio effects on the vortex flow evolution. For the BiotSavart

deformation of vortex-ring dynamics, the self-induced velocity responsible for the

vortex-ring deformation is proportional to the local curvature Vd C log(1/ )b

in a thin, incompressible, inviscid vortex tube, where C is the local curvature of

the tube, is the local cross-section of the vortex tube, and b is the binormal to

the plane containing the tube. The self-induced Biot-Savart deformation is stronger

in the free rectangular case than that in the free square case with the same crosssectional area, due to the differences in curvature. A stronger vortex deformation

in the rectangular case therefore leads to a more vortical flow field and in turn a

stronger mixing and spreading at the plume downstream.

In the near field, a plume entrains its ambient fluids mainly through the large

scale vortical structures. Figure 8 shows a comparison of the instantaneous crossstreamwise velocities on the x = Lx /2 plane at z = 5.0. The three different times

shown in the figure correspond approximately to one pulsation period of the free

rectangular and free square cases, which is about +t = 2.0. Therefore the curves

at t = 22.0 and t = 24.0 are almost overlapping for these two cases. For the corner

square case, the pulsation period at this downstream location differs from the two

free cases. From this figure, it is observed that the cross-streamwise velocities of

the free rectangular and corner square cases are much higher than that of the free

square case, which indicate stronger entrainment in these two cases.

In the present non-circular buoyant reactive plumes, the 3D vortex deformation

associated with the non-circular geometry and side-wall effects leads to the breakdown of large vortical structures into small scales. The emergence of turbulence in

69

plane at z = 5.0 of the free rectangular, free square, and corner square reactive plumes (

t = 22.0; t = 23.0; t = 24.0).

70

the non-circular buoyant reactive plumes can be testified by spectral analysis of the

flow field.

Figure 9 shows the comparison of the history of the centerline streamwise velocities at z = 5.0 of the three cases. The velocity fluctuations downstream of the

plume shown in Figure 9 are associated with the spatial development of the flow

field since there is no velocity fluctuations at the inlet. At the later stage (approximately after t = 12.0) when the flow is more developed, it can be observed that the

downstream centerline velocities of the free rectangular and corner square plumes

fluctuate much more than the centerline velocity of the free square plume. The

downstream centerline velocities of the free rectangular and corner square cases are

also lower than that of the free square case. This is mainly because of the stronger

mixing and larger spreading associated with the stronger vortex deformation in

the free rectangular case and the side-wall effects in the corner square case. With

stronger mixing, the density inhomogeneity and buoyancy in the free rectangular

and corner square cases decay faster, therefore the buoyancy acceleration decays

faster in these two cases. The important feature in Figure 9 is that the variations of

the downstream centerline velocity of the free rectangular and corner square cases

are less coherent than that of the free square case, which indicates the emergence

of small scale turbulence in the flow field.

The energy spectra of the three cases determined from the history of the centerline streamwise velocities at z = 5.0 using Fourier analysis are shown in Figure 10,

which is expressed in logarithmic scales (to the base 10) of the non-dimensional

frequency (Strouhal number St = f L0 /w0 ) and kinetic energy. The spectral

analysis used velocity data of the developed reactive plumes after the initial stage

of the simulation. It is observed that the most energetic mode for each case occurs

at a low frequency, which is the puffing or flickering frequency of the buoyant

reactive plume associated with the convection of large vortical structures. For the

free rectangular and corner square cases, the flows are more energetic than the

free square case and high frequency harmonics are developed in the flow field. A

prominent feature in Figure 10 is the development of these high frequency harmonics, which is associated with the emergence of high frequency small scales in the

flow field at the downstream location. The flow turbulence can be measured by the

Kolmogorov cascade theory (cf. [9]), which states a power law correlation between

the energy and frequency: E(St) St5/3 . In Figure 10, the Kolmogorov power

law is plotted together with the energy spectra. It can be seen that the behavior of

the free rectangular and corner square reactive plumes at the downstream location

approximately follows the 5/3 power law. The spectra shown reflect the energy

fluctuations of the high frequency harmonics in the free rectangular and corner

square cases.

Flow transition to turbulence is the direct consequence of the breakdown of

large scale vortical structures due to strong vortex interactions, especially the interactions between the streamwise vorticity and cross-streamwise vorticity [9]. The

occurrence of flow transition to turbulence downstream of the free rectangular

71

Figure 9. Comparison of the history of the centerline streamwise velocities at z = 5.0 of the

free rectangular, free square, and corner square reactive plumes.

72

Figure 10. Comparison of the energy spectra of the centerline streamwise velocity variations

at z = 5.0 of the free rectangular, free square, and corner square reactive plumes (

Kolmogorov cascade theory E(St) St 5/3 ).

73

and corner square cases is due to the much stronger vortex interactions in these

two cases in comparison with the free square case. For the flow configuration

investigated, there are only vortex rings very close to the plume source since the

streamwise vorticity z is zero on the inlet plane. The spatial development of

streamwise vorticity above the inlet plane and the strong vortex interactions further

downstream involving all the three vorticity components are essential to the flow

transition to turbulence [9, 17].

In buoyant flows with gravitational effect, the governing equation for vorticity

transport can be written in a vector form as

D

1

= ()V (V) + 2 (p)

Dt

1

1 a

.

+ 2 (g) +

Fr

(2)

The terms on the right-hand side of Equation (2) are the vortex stretching term,

dilatation term, baroclinic torque, gravitational term, and viscous term, respectively. Among these five terms, it is known that the dilatation term and viscous

term mainly attenuate flow vorticity [8], therefore chemical heat release reduces the

mixing and entrainment in non-buoyant reactive mixing layers [13, 23]. However,

their importance in the vorticity transport is relatively less than the other terms for

buoyant plumes with moderately high Reynolds numbers and low Froude numbers

[15, 16]. Therefore, these two terms are not discussed further in the following. In

this vorticity transport equation, a transport term on the right-hand side promotes

the flow vortical level if this term and the vorticity are of the same sign, while the

term attenuates flow vorticity if they are of opposite signs.

The stretching term, baroclinic torque and gravitational term are the major

terms in the vorticity transport budget of a buoyancy-driven flow. Axisymmetric

and planar simulations [15, 16] identified that the effect of gravitational term is to

promote the flow vortical level. This term is responsible for the absolute instability

of buoyant jets and plumes that can initiate flow vorticity. For the flow configuration studied here, the three components of this term are a /y /( 2 Fr),

a /x /( 2 Fr), and 0, in x, y, and z directions, respectively. This implies that

the gravitational term does not contribute to the streamwise vorticity directly. In

this study, it was found that the gravitational term mainly promotes the flow vorticity in the cross-streamwise directions. The stretching term and baroclinic torque

can either promote or destroy the cross-streamwise vorticity depending on the

local flow structure. These trends are consistent with the previous observations

on axisymmetric buoyant reactive plumes [15, 16], but the vortex stretching term

for 3D cases studied here is very significant. The vortex stretching is completely

absent in 2D planar simulations, while the stretching in axisymmetric simulations

is less significant.

Figure 11 shows the streamwise vorticity contours on the z = 1.0 and z = 5.0

planes at t = 24.0 of the corner square reactive plume. The streamwise vorticity

74

Figure 11. Streamwise vorticity contours on the z = 1.0 and z = 5.0 planes at t = 24.0 of the

corner square reactive plume (15 contours between the minimum and maximum as indicated;

solid line: positive; dotted line: negative).

Figure 12. Contours of the major transport terms of the streamwise vorticity on the z = 1.0

plane at t = 24.0 of the corner square reactive plume (15 contours between the minimum and

maximum as indicated; solid line: positive; dotted line: negative).

shows a distribution which is symmetric but with a sign change across the symmetry plane of the corner configuration. For the streamwise vorticity, the major

transport terms are the 3D vortex stretching and the baroclinic torque. Figure 12

shows contours of the major transport terms of the streamwise vorticity shown in

Figure 11a.

From Figure 12, it is observed that the vortex stretching x w/x+y w/y+

z w/z in z-direction is very significant in the transport of the streamwise vor-

75

Figure 13. Comparison of the time-averaged centerline temperature and streamwise velocities

of the free rectangular, free square, and corner square reactive plumes ( free rectangular;

free square; corner square).

ticity. A careful examination on the vortex stretching term distribution in Figure 12a shows that this term predominantly takes the same sign of the corresponding streamwise vorticity shown in Figure 11a. This indicates that the vortex

stretching term is a major source for the streamwise vorticity. For the baroclinic

torque shown in Figure 12b, it can either promote or destroy streamwise vorticity,

which is of the same nature as its contribution to the cross-streamwise vorticity. It is

also noticed that this term is less significant than the stretching term in the transport

budget. Analysis on streamwise vorticity transport at different times and different

locations and for other cases follow the same trend. Therefore it can be concluded

that the streamwise vorticity in the non-circular buoyant reactive plumes is mainly

caused by the 3D vortex stretching. The development of streamwise vorticity due to

vortex stretching leads to the coexistence of vortex rings and spirals in the reactive

plume, and consequently, strong vortex interactions occur downstream which are

responsible for the flow transition.

3.3. F LOW STATISTICS

Flow statistics were obtained by averaging the flow quantities over six pulsation

periods after the initial transients had been convected out of the computational

domain. Figure 13 shows the comparison of the time-averaged centerline temperature and streamwise velocities of the free rectangular, free square, and corner

square reactive plumes, while Figure 14 shows the comparison of the entrainment

properties of these three cases. It is worth noting that the bumps in the profiles

in Figures 13 and 14 are mainly because of the existence of buoyancy-induced

76

Figure 14. Comparison of the entrainment properties of the free rectangular, free square, and

corner square reactive plumes ( free rectangular; free square; corner

square).

large scale vortical structures in the near field. Although the large scale vortices are

being convected by the mean flow, the time-averaged quantities still indicate their

existence due to the spatial nature of the simulation.

In the near field of a buoyant reactive plume, the temperature depends on the

reaction and mixing. Combustion heat release increases the local temperature. In

the meantime, large spreading and strong mixing with the ambient reduces the

local temperature through the convective heat transfer. For the time-averaged centerline temperature shown in Figure 13a, it maintains the initial temperature of the

fuel near the inlet plane (z < 1.0 in the streamwise direction) since no reaction

takes place due to the unmixedness of the mixture. The temperature then increases

due to the combustion heat release. Downstream, the time-averaged centerline

temperature behaves differently for the three cases due to the different mixing

characteristics. For the free rectangular and corner square cases, the temperature

decreases due to the large spreading and the fuel consumption. For the free square

case, however, the downstream temperature still increases due to the small spreading and the combustion heat release. It is worth noting that the plume centerline

does not correspond to the intense reaction zone, therefore the temperature shown

is lower than the highest temperature within the non-premixed flame.

For the reactive plume, the mean streamwise velocity strongly depends on the

buoyancy effects. The time-averaged centerline streamwise velocity increases at

locations close to the plume source due to the buoyancy acceleration. The buoyancy

acceleration decays downstream because of the plume spreading and mixing with

the ambient. The free rectangular and corner square cases have larger spreading

77

than the free square case as shown before, therefore the downstream streamwise

velocities in these two cases decay faster.

Figure 14a shows the comparison of the streamwise mass fluxes

L

y /2
Lx

w dx dy

Ly /2 0

of the free rectangular, free square, and corner square reactive plumes, while Figure 14b shows the comparison of the entrainment rates which are the gradients

of the streamwise mass fluxes in the vertical direction of the three cases. Compared with the entrainment rates around 0.3 of square non-buoyant jets reported by

Grinstein and Kailasanath [10], the entrainment rate of the square buoyant plume

studied here is about three times of this value due to the strong buoyancy effects.

This trend is consistent with the comparison between the near field entrainment

properties of circular buoyant plumes and non-buoyant jets [7]. It is worth noting

that there is no comparable experimental data available for the non-circular buoyant

reactive plumes in the near field, and thus, a direct comparison with experiments

is not feasible. However, the mean properties qualitatively follow the trend of

buoyancy enhanced entrainment in the near field [7].

In Figure 14, the higher entrainment rate of the free rectangular case compared

with the free square case is due to the aspect ratio effects [12]. Although the

corner square reactive plume is half-confined in the cross-streamwise directions,

the entrainment of the corner square case is significantly higher than that of the

free square case. This can be explained by the side-wall enhanced mixing in the

corner case. From a macro-scale mixing point of view, the corner square case has

more length scales compared to the one obvious length scale (the fuel jet width) in

the free square case. Also, there is only one symmetry plane in the corner square

case (the bisector of the domain) compared to the many in the free square case.

For the corner case, the plume spreading is greatly enhanced by the recirculation

zones formed between the wall and plume as discussed in Section 3.1. This leads to

enhanced mixing at large scales in the corner square case. For the mixing at small

scales, the corner square case is much more turbulent than its free counterpart as

discussed in Section 3.2, which leads to enhanced small scale mixing in the corner

case. The side-wall enhanced mixing is also evident in the sample instantaneous

mixing characteristics shown in Figure 8.

4. Conclusions

In this paper, spatial direct numerical simulations of non-circular reactive plumes

with buoyancy effects have been performed for three cases. A one-step chemical

reaction with Arrhenius kinetics is used. The simulations are devoted to a better

understanding of the effects of plume source geometry and side-wall confinement

on the flow structure and dynamics of reactive plumes. Particular attention has been

78

given to the effects on the flow transition to turbulence and mixing and entrainment

in non-circular reactive plumes.

Complex 3D structures are observed for the buoyant reactive plumes established

on non-circular sources. Large scale vortical structures develop naturally in the

flow field due to the gravitational effect. Analysis on the vorticity transport shows

that 3D vortex stretching leads to the development of streamwise vorticity in the

flow field. Vortex interactions and the consequent breakdown lead to the emergence

of turbulence in the buoyant reactive plumes. A turbulent inertial subrange has been

observed downstream of the free rectangular and corner square reactive plumes.

The geometry and side-wall effects on the mixing and entrainment of noncircular reactive plumes are significant. Compared with the square geometry, the

rectangular geometry with an aspect ratio of 2:1 promotes the plume entrainment

of the ambient fluids due to the aspect ratio effects. By creating recirculation zones

between the wall and plume and promoting transition to turbulence, the side-walls

in the corner square case enhance the mixing and entrainment of the reactive plume

at both large and small scales.

Acknowledgment

This work was funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research

Council under Grant No. GR/L67271.

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