The role of droplets in the autoignition of a polydisperse Jet-A spray in vitiated co-flow
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The objective of this study is to understand the underlying mechanisms of autoignition of a polydisperse fuel spray. Understanding and predicting autoignition of fuel sprays is important to the design of modern gas turbine engines, especially in the interest of developing a flame-holder-less afterburner concept. In this system, liquid fuel is injected into a high temperature, flowing, vitiated air flow. Previous studies of fuel spray autoignition have suggested multiple mechanisms for a fuel spray to autoignite, including single droplet and droplet cloud ignition behavior. The majority of liquid-fueled autoignition studies have been parametric in nature and describe the overall effect of droplet size, equivalence ratio, turbulence intensity, etc. on ignition delay time but do not investigate the phenomena controlling the local behavior of autoignition kernel formation and growth. Autoignition studies of cold gaseous fuel jets in hot oxidizer cross flows have shown the importance of local mixture fraction. A test facility was developed that is capable of reproducing flow conditions in an aero-engine reheat combustor. Fuel is injected using a reproduction of a commercially available spray nozzle installed on an aerodynamically shaped body centered in the flow by three aerodynamic pylons. High speed chemiluminescence and UV PLIF were used to determine the dependence of the locations where autoignition kernels form, upon the flow temperature and velocity. Analysis of the scatter in the time-resolved ignition locations revealed the importance of temperature fluctuations in the vitiated flow. Specifically, the most upstream ignition locations likely correspond to the hottest and, therefore, most reactive fluid packets. The distribution of the fuel spray was found to affect the appearance of most upstream autoignition kernels. A near stationary (on average) flame was found to exist at high co-flow temperatures, being stabilized by autoignition as distinct kernels were formed upstream of the main flame region.