Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Ratner, Albert

First Committee Member

Buchholz, James

Second Committee Member

Lin, Ching-Long

Third Committee Member

Udaykumar, H S


Low swirl burners (LSBs) have gained popularity in heating and gas power generation industries, in part due to their proven capacity for reducing the production of NOx, which in addition to reacting to form smog and acid rain, plays a central role in the formation of the tropospheric ozone layer. With lean operating conditions, LSBs are susceptible to combustion instability, which can result in flame extinction or equipment failure. Extensive work has been performed to understand the nature of LSB combustion, but scaling trends between laboratory- and industrial-sized burners have not been established. Using hydrogen addition as the primary method of flame stabilization, the current work presents results for a 2.54 cm LSB to investigate potential effects of burner outlet diameter on the nature of flame stability, with focus on flashback and lean blowout conditions. In the lean regime, the onset of instability and flame extinction have been shown to occur at similar equivalence ratios for both the 2.54 cm and a 3.81 cm LSB and depend on the resolution of equivalence ratios incremented. Investigations into flame structures are also performed. Discussion begins with a derivation for properties in a multicomponent gas mixture used to determine the Reynolds number (Re) to develop a condition for turbulent intensity similarity in differently-sized LSBs. Based on this requirement, operating conditions are chosen such that the global Reynolds number for the 2.54 cm LSB is within 2% of the Re for the 3.81 cm burner. With similarity obtained, flame structure investigations focus on flame front curvature and flame surface density (FSD). As flame structure results of the current 2.54 cm LSB work are compared to results for the 3.81 cm LSB, no apparent relationship is shown to exist between burner diameter and the distribution of flame surface density. However, burner diameter is shown to have a definite effect on the flame front curvature. In corresponding flow conditions, a decrease in burner diameter results a broader distribution of curvature and an increased average curvature, signifying that compared to the larger 3.81 cm LSB, the flame front of the smaller burner contains tighter, smaller scale wrinkling.


Combustion Instability, Flame Stabilization, Flame Structures, Lean, Premixed Combustion, Low Swirl Burner, NOx


xii, 141 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 118-130).


Copyright 2014 Kelsey Leigh Kaufman