Research Papers

OH* Chemiluminescence Imaging of the Combustion Products From a Methane-Fueled Rotating Detonation Engine

[+] Author and Article Information
Jonathan Tobias, Daniel Depperschmidt, Cooper Welch, Robert Miller, Mruthunjaya Uddi, Ajay K. Agrawal

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Alabama,
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Ron Daniel, Jr.

Aerojet- Rocketdyne,
Huntsville, AL 35806

Manuscript received July 3, 2018; final manuscript received July 19, 2018; published online October 4, 2018. Editor: Jerzy T. Sawicki.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 141(2), 021021 (Oct 04, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: GTP-18-1436; doi: 10.1115/1.4041143 History: Received July 03, 2018; Revised July 19, 2018

Pressure gain combustion (PGC) has been conceived to convert fuel's chemical energy into thermal energy and mechanical energy, thereby reducing the entropy production in the process. Recent research has shown that the rotating detonation combustor (RDC) can provide excellent specific thrust, specific impulse, and pressure gain within a small volume through rapid energy release by continuous detonation in the circumferential direction. The RDC as a PGC system for power generating gas turbines in combined cycle power plants could provide significant efficiency gains. However, few past studies have employed fuels that are relevant to power generation turbines, since RDC research has focused mainly on propulsion applications. In this study, we present experimental results from RDC operated on methane and oxygen-enriched air to represent reactants used in land-based power generation. The RDC is operated at a high pressure by placing a back-pressure plate downstream of the annular combustor. Past studies have focused mainly on probe measurements inside the combustor, and thus, little information is known about the nature of the products exiting the RDC. In particular, it is unknown if chemical reactions persist outside the RDC annulus, especially if methane is used as the fuel. In this study, we apply two time-resolved optical techniques to simultaneously image the RDC products at framing rate of 30 kHz: (1) direct visual-imaging to identify the overall size and extent of the plume, and (2) OH* chemiluminescence imaging to detect the reaction zones if any. Results show dynamic features of the combustion products that are consistent with the probe measurements inside the rotating detonation engine (RDE). Moreover, presence of OH* in the products suggests that the oblique shock wave and reactions persist downstream of the detonation zone in the RDC.

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Fig. 1

Illustration of RDC

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Fig. 2

Schematic diagram of the RDC

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Fig. 3

Piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) of the gas supply systems

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Fig. 4

Photograph of the RDE located inside the blast shield underneath the exhaust vent

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Fig. 5

Representation of the probe measurement locations on the RDE

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Fig. 6

Arrangement of high-speed camera systems for different measurements of the RDE

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Fig. 7

Timing diagram of the OH* chemiluminescence imaging system

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Fig. 8

Timing diagram of the experimental test sequence

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Fig. 9

Pressure measurements (a) upstream of RDE and (b) within RDE

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Fig. 10

High-speed video images of the detonation wave taken at 186,000 frames per second; wave is rotating counter clockwise

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Fig. 11

Detonation wave velocity based on high-speed image analysis

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Fig. 12

(a) Detonation wave velocity based on IP data analysis and (b) FFT analysis of ion probe data

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Fig. 13

Averaged high-speed images rendering simulated flame images at frame rate of (a) 100 Hz, (b) 1000 Hz, (c) 10 kHz, and (d) 30 kHz

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Fig. 14

Instantaneous visual images of the products downstream of the RDE; images are arranged sequentially from top to bottom, left to right

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Fig. 15

Instantaneous OH* chemiluminescence intensity contour plots for products downstream of the RDE; images are arranged sequentially from top to bottom, left to right

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Fig. 16

Locations used for FFT analysis

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Fig. 17

FFT analysis of OH* chemiluminescence measurements



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