Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions

An Experimental Investigation of Kerosene Droplet Breakup by Laser-Induced Blast Waves

[+] Author and Article Information
Gregor C. Gebel

e-mail: gregor.gebel@dlr.de

Manfred Aigner

Institute of Combustion Technology,
German Aerospace Center (DLR),
70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Stéphane Le Brun

Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique
et de l’Espace (ISAE),
31055 Toulouse, France

Contributed by the International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) of ASME for publication in the Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power. Manuscript received September 24, 2012; final manuscript received October 1, 2012; published online January 10, 2013. Editor: Dilip R. Ballal.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 135(2), 021505 (Jan 10, 2013) (10 pages) Paper No: GTP-12-1376; doi: 10.1115/1.4007776 History: Received September 24, 2012; Revised October 01, 2012

The work presented in this paper intends to deepen our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the spark ignition of liquid fuel sprays. An experimental study is presented regarding the ignition of monodisperse droplet chains of Jet A-1 aviation kerosene in a generic model combustor under well-defined boundary conditions. Breakdowns created by focused laser radiation were used as ignition sparks. They featured rapid spatial expansion, resulting in the formation of spherical blast waves in the surrounding air. The focus of this study lay on the effect of the blast waves on the fuel droplets. Blast wave trajectories were investigated by Schlieren imaging. Their interaction with kerosene droplets was observed with a high speed camera via a long distance microscope; the droplets were visualized by laser-induced Mie scattering. Droplets within a distance of 10 mm from the breakdown position were deformed and disintegrated by the aerodynamic forces of the postshock flow field. Different breakup modes were observed, depending on the distance from the breakdown position: Catastrophic breakup was observed at a 5 mm distance, resonant breakup was observed at a 10 mm distance. Breakup by blast waves from ignition sparks is expected to be a crucial mechanism for spray ignition because it supports evaporation. Weber number calculations revealed that the breakup modes observed under lab conditions will also appear in aviation gas turbines at high altitude relight conditions.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Lefebvre, A. H., and Ballal, D. R., 2010, Gas Turbine Combustion, 3rd ed., Taylor & Francis, London.
Boyde, J., Le Clercq, P., Di Domenico, M., Mosbach, T., Gebel, G. C., Rachner, M., and Aigner, M., 2011, “Ignition and Flame Propagation Along Planar Monodisperse Droplet Streams,” AIAA Paper No. 2011-102.
Boyde, J., Le Clercq, P., Di Domenico, M., Gebel, G. C., Mosbach, T., and Aigner, M., 2011, “Validation of an Ignition and Flame Propagation Model for Multiphase Flows,” ASME Paper No. GT2011-45104. [CrossRef]
Neophytou, A., 2010, “Spark Ignition and Flame Propagation in Sprays,” Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Schroll, P., 2009, “Conditional Moment Closure for Spray Combustion and Ignition,” Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Boileau, M., Staffelbach, G., Cuenot, B., Poinsot, T., and Bérat, C., 2008, “LES of an Ignition Sequence in a Gas Turbine Engine,” Combust. Flame, 154, pp. 2–22. [CrossRef]
Reveillon, J., and Demoulin, F. X., 2007, “Evaporating Droplets in Turbulent Reacting Flows,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 31, pp. 2319–2326. [CrossRef]
Marchione, T., Ahmed, S. F., and Mastorakos, E., 2009, “Ignition of Turbulent Swirling n-Heptane Spray Flames Using Single and Multiple Sparks,” Combust. Flame, 156, pp. 166–180. [CrossRef]
Wandel, A. P., Chakraborty, N., and Mastorakos, E., 2009, “Direct Numerical Simulations of Turbulent Flame Expansion in Fine Sprays,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 32, pp. 2283–2290. [CrossRef]
Ouarti, N., Lavergne, G., and Lecourt, R., 2004, “Modelling of the Ignition Inside a Turbojet Combustor. Application to In-Flight Relight,” Proceedings of the ILASS-Europe 2004, Nottingham, UK, September 6–8.
Linassier, G., Lecourt, R., Villedieu, P., Lavergne, G., and Verdier, H., 2010, “Numerical and Experimental Study of Aircraft Engine Ignition,” Proceedings of the ILASS-Europe 2010, Brno, Czech Republic, September 6–8.
Mosbach, T., Gebel, G. C., and Meier, W., 2010, “Report on the Experiments at the Lab-Scale Combustor,” Deliverable D2.2.3b, EU Project No. AST5-CT-2006-030828.
Mosbach, T., Gebel, G. C., and Meier, W., 2011, “AP 1.1 Experimentelle Untersuchungen und Validierungsmessungen,” BMWi Project No. 20T0602.
Aggarwal, S. K., 1998, “A Review of Spray Ignition Phenomena: Present Status and Future Research,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci., 24, pp. 565–600. [CrossRef]
Lawes, M., Lee, Y., Mokhtar, A. S., and Woolley, R., 2008, “Laser Ignition of Iso-Octane Air Aerosols,” Combust. Sci. Technol., 180, pp. 296–313. [CrossRef]
Letty, C., and Mastorakos, E., 2011, “Laser-Induced Ignition of Swirling n-Heptane Spray Flames,” Proceedings of the 5th European Combustion Meeting 2011, Cardiff, UK, June 28-July 1.
Mosbach, T., Sadanandan, R., Meier, W., and Eggels, R., 2010, “Experimental Analysis of Altitude Relight Under Realistic Conditions Using Laser and High-Speed Video Techniques,” ASME Paper No. GT2010-22625. [CrossRef]
Mosbach, T., Gebel, G. C., Le Clercq, P., Sadr, R., Kannaiyan, K., and Al-Sharshani, A., 2011, “Investigation of GTL-Like Jet Fuel Composition on GT Engine Altitude Ignition and Combustion Performance: Part II—Detailed Diagnostics,” ASME Paper No. GT2011-45510. [CrossRef]
Read, R., 2008, “Experimental Investigations Into High-Altitude Relight of a Gas Turbine,” Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Gebel, G. C., Mosbach, T., Meier, W., and Aigner, M., 2011, “Laser-Induced Ignition of Kerosene in a Model Combustor,” Proceedings of the 5th European Combustion Meeting 2011, Cardiff, UK, June 28-July 1.
Wang, B., Komurasaki, K., Yamaguchi, T., Shimamura, K., and Arakawa, Y., 2010, “Energy Conversion in a Glas-Laser-Induced Blast Wave in Air,” J. Appl. Phys., 108, 124911. [CrossRef]
Jiang, Z., Takayama, K., Moosad, K. P. B., Onodera, O., and Sun, M., 1998, “Numerical and Experimental Study of a Micro-Blast Wave Generated by Pulsed-Laser Beam Focusing,” Shock Waves, 8, pp. 337–349. [CrossRef]
Bradley, D., Sheppard, C. G. W., Suardjaja, I. M., and Woolley, R., 2004, “Fundamentals of High-Energy Spark Ignition With Lasers,” Combust. Flame, 138, pp. 55–77. [CrossRef]
Lackner, M., Charareh, S., Winter, F., Iskra, K. F., Rüdisser, D., Neger, T., Kopecek, H., Wintner, E., 2004, “Investigation of the Early Stages in Laser-Induced Ignition by Schlieren Photography and Laser-Induced Fluorescence Spectroscopy,” Opt. Express, 12, pp. 4546–4557. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Freeman, R. A., and Craggs, J. D., 1968, “Shock Waves From Spark Discharges,” J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 2, pp. 421–427. [CrossRef]
Olsen, H. L., Edmonson, R. B., and Gayhart, E. L., 1952, “Microchronometric Schlieren Study of Gaseous Expansion From an Electric Spark,” J. Appl. Phys., 23, pp. 1157–1162. [CrossRef]
Holst-Jensen, O., 1981, “An Experimental Investigation of Rise Times of Very Weak Shock Waves,” UTIAS Technical Note No. 229.
Akindele, O. O., Bradley, D., Mak, P. W., and McMahon, M., 1982, “Spark Ignition of Turbulent Gases,” Combust. Flame, 47, pp. 129–155. [CrossRef]
Maly, R., 1984, “Spark Ignition: Its Physics and Effect on the Internal Combustion Engine,” Fuel Economy in Road Vehicles Powered by Spark Ignition Engines, J. C.Hillard and G. S.Springer, eds., Plenum Press, New York.
Dale, J. D., Checkel, M. D., and Smy, P. R., 1997, “Application of High Energy Ignition Systems to Engines,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci., 23, pp. 379–398. [CrossRef]
Brode, H. L., 1955, “Numerical Solutions of Spherical Blast Waves,” J. Appl. Phys., 26, pp. 766–775. [CrossRef]
Brode, H. L., 1956, “Point Source Explosion in Air,” The RAND Corporation, Report No. RM-1824-AEC,.
Ranger, A. A., and Nicholls, J. A., 1972, “Atomization of Liquid Droplets in a Convective Gas Stream,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 15, pp. 1203–1211. [CrossRef]
Pilch, M., and Erdman, C. A., 1987, “Use of Breakup Time Data and Velocity History Data to Predict the Maximum Size of Stable Fragments for Acceleration-Induced Breakup of a Liquid Drop,” Int. J. Multiphase Flows, 13, pp. 741–757. [CrossRef]
Theofanous, T. G., Li, G. J., and Dinh, T. N., 2004, “Aerobreakup in Rarefied Supersonic Gas Flows,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 126(4), pp. 516–527. [CrossRef]
Hsiang, L.-P., and Faeth, G. M., 1995, “Drop Deformation and Breakup Due to Shock Wave and Steady Disturbances,” Int. J. Multiphase Flows, 21, pp. 545–560. [CrossRef]
Klenk, W., Widdecke, N., and Frohn, A., 1996, “Disintegration of Monodisperse Droplet Streams by Shock Waves,” Proceedings of the 4th Asian Symposium on Visualization, Beijing, pp. 229–234.
Ronney, P. D., 1994, “Laser Versus Conventional Ignition of Flames,” Opt. Eng., 33, pp. 510–521. [CrossRef]
Lamb, H., 1932, Hydrodynamics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Hypothesis about the mechanisms involved in flame kernel generation out of a laser-induced breakdown

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematic of the model combustor. Scales are given in mm.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Setup of the Schlieren experiment

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Blast wave trajectory from the Schlieren images and Brode’s numerical simulation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Mie scattering of Jet A-1 droplet breakup 5 mm below the breakdown focus

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Mie scattering of Jet A-1 droplet breakup 10 mm below the breakdown focus

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Calculated flow velocities and Weber numbers behind the shock front for a spherical blast wave of 93 mJ initial energy and Jet A-1 droplets of 130 μm in diameter

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Setup of the Mie scattering experiment

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Schlieren images of the laser-induced breakdown in static air. The center of reference is the focal point of the breakdown.



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In