Periodic motion of a Bunsen flame tip with burner rotation

Hiroshi Gotoda, Kazuyuki Maeda, Toshihisa Ueda, Robert K. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Effects of burner rotation on the shapes and dynamics of premixed Bunsen flames have been investigated experimentally in normal gravity and in microgravity. Mixtures of CH4-air and C3H8-air are issued from the burner tube with mean flow velocity U = 0.6 m/s. The burner tube is rotated up to 1400 rpm (swirl number S = 1.58). An oscillating flame with large amplitude is formed between a conical-shape flame and a plateau flame under the condition of Lewis number Le > 1 mixtures (rich CH4-air and lean C3H8-air mixtures). In contrast, for Le ≤ 1 mixtures (lean CH4-air and rich C3H8-air), asymmetric, eccentric flame or tilted flame is formed under the same swirl number range. Under microgravity condition, the oscillating flames are not formed, indicating that the oscillation is driven by buoyancy-induced instability associated with the unstable interface between the hot products and the ambient air. The flame tip flickering frequency ν is insensitive to burner rotation for S < 0.11. For S > 0.11, ν decreases linearly with increasing S. As S exceeds 0.11, a minimum value of axial mean velocity along the center line uj,m due to flow divergence is found and it has a linear relationship with ν. This result shows that uj,m has direct control of the oscillation frequency. When S approaches unity, the flame oscillation amplitude increases by a factor of 5, compared to the flickering amplitude of a conical-shape flame. This is accompanied by a hysteresis variation in the flame curvature from positive to negative and the thermo-diffusive zone thickness varying from small to large. With S > 1.3, the plateau flame has the same small flickering amplitudes as with S = 0. These results show that the competing centrifugal and buoyancy forces, and the non-unity Lewis number effect, play important roles in amplifying the flame-tip oscillation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalCombustion and Flame
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jul 1


  • Buoyancy
  • Burner rotation
  • Lewis number
  • Microgravity
  • Premixed flame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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