Flame propagation under mixture stratification is relevant to a wide range of applications including gas turbine combustors and internal combustion engines. One of the local stratification effects is known as the back-support effect, where the laminar flame speed is modified when a premixed flame propagates into gradually richer or leaner mixtures. A majority of previous studies have focused on the propagation of methane/air stratified flames under standard temperature and pressure. However, stratified combustion often occurs under elevated temperature and pressure in practical applications, which may influence the characteristics of the back support effect through modified reaction pathways. This study performs numerical simulations of stratified laminar counterflow flames under an Atmospheric Temperature and Pressure (ATP) condition and an Elevated Temperature and Pressure (ETP) condition and examines the influence of elevated temperature and pressure on the back-support effect. Reaction flow analyses were extensively conducted to elucidate the difference in the primary reaction pathway between the two conditions. When scaled by the stratification Damköhler number, the back-support effect on the rich-to-lean stratified flame is weaker under the ETP condition than the ATP condition in the stoichiometric to lean region. This is due to increased contribution from reactions involved with OH radicals under the ETP condition, which leads to lower H2 reproduction in the reaction zone than under the ATP condition. The contribution from OH radicals is increased under the ETP condition because the conversion of H into OH is enhanced. These results suggest that the back-support effect may become negligibly small in practical combustors operating under elevated temperature and pressure due to (1) the flame being less sensitive to stratification because of the thinner flame, and (2) the lower H2 reproduction that deteriorates the radical production that drives the back-support effect.
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