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

Liquid Fuel Composition Effects on Forced, Nonpremixed Ignition

[+] Author and Article Information
Brandon Sforzo

Ben T. Zinn Combustion Laboratory,
Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332-0150
 e-mail: brandon.sforzo@gatech.edu

Hoang Dao, Sheng Wei, Jerry Seitzman

Ben T. Zinn Combustion Laboratory,
Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332-0150

1Corresponding author.

2Present address: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Redmond, WA 98052.

Contributed by the Combustion and Fuels Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received July 13, 2016; final manuscript received July 14, 2016; published online October 11, 2016. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 139(3), 031509 (Oct 11, 2016) (8 pages) Paper No: GTP-16-1335; doi: 10.1115/1.4034502 History: Received July 13, 2016; Revised July 14, 2016

The effects of jet fuel composition on ignition probability have been studied in a flowfield that is relevant to turbine engine combustors, but also fundamental and conducive to modeling. In the experiments, a spark kernel is ejected from a wall and propagates transversely into a crossflow. The kernel first encounters an air-only stream before transiting into a second, flammable (premixed) stream. The two streams have matched velocities, as verified by hot-wire measurements. The liquid fuels span a range of physical and chemical kinetic properties. To focus on their chemical differences, the fuels are prevaporized in a carrier air flow before being injected into the experimental facility. Ignition probabilities at atmospheric pressure and elevated crossflow temperature were determined from optical measurements of a large number of spark events, and high-speed imaging was used to characterize the kernel evolution. Eight fuel blends were tested experimentally; all exhibited increasing ignition probability as equivalence ratio increased, at least up to the maximum value studied (∼0.8). Statistically significant differences between fuels were measured that have some correlation with fuel properties. To elucidate these trends, the forced ignition process was also studied with a reduced-order numerical model of an entraining kernel. The simulations suggest ignition is successful if sufficient heat release occurs before entrainment of colder crossflow fluid quenches the exothermic oxidation reactions. As the kernel is initialized in air, it remains extremely lean during the initial entrainment of the fuel–air mixture; thus, richer crossflows lead to quicker and higher exothermicity.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Williams, A. , 2013, Combustion of Liquid Fuel Sprays, Butterworth-Heinemann, London, UK.
Chu, S. , and Majumdar, A. , 2012, “ Opportunities and Challenges for a Sustainable Energy Future,” Nature, 488(7411), pp. 294–303. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Lovett, J. A. , Brogan, T. P. , Philippona, D. S. , Keil, B. V. , and Thompson, T. V. , 2004, “ Development Needs for Advanced Afterburner Designs,” AIAA Paper No. 2004-4192.
Dooley, K. A. , 1996, “ Continuous Plasma Ignition System,” U.S. Patent US5587630 A.
Lefebvre, A. , 1999, Gas Turbine Combustion (Combustion: An International Series), Taylor & Francis Group, New York.
Vasu, S. S. , Davidson, D. F. , and Hanson, R. K. , 2008, “ Jet Fuel Ignition Delay Times: Shock Tube Experiments Over Wide Conditions and Surrogate Model Predictions,” Combust. Flame, 152(1–2), pp. 125–143. [CrossRef]
Westbrook, C. K. , 2000, “ Chemical Kinetics of Hydrocarbon Ignition in Practical Combustion Systems,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 28(2), pp. 1563–1577. [CrossRef]
Glassman, I. , 2008, Combustion, 4th ed., Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Sforzo, B. , Lambert, A. , Kim, J. , Jagoda, J. , Menon, S. , and Seitzman, J. , 2015, “ Post Discharge Evolution of a Spark Igniter Kernel,” Combust. Flame, 162(1), pp. 181–190. [CrossRef]
Sforzo, B. , Kim, J. , Jagoda, J. , and Seitzman, J. , 2014, “ Ignition Probability in a Stratified Turbulent Flow With a Sunken Fire Igniter,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 137(1), p. 011502. [CrossRef]
Lewis, B. , and Von Elbe, G. , 1987, Combustion, Flames, and Explosions of Gases, Academic Press, Orlando, FL.
Topham, D. , Smy, P. , and Clements, R. , 1975, “ An Investigation of a Coaxial Spark Igniter With Emphasis on Its Practical Use,” Combust. Flame, 25, pp. 187–195. [CrossRef]
Weinberg, F. J. , Hom, K. , Oppenheim, A. K. , and Teichman, K. , 1978, “ Ignition by Plasma Jet,” Nature, 272(5651), pp. 341–343. [CrossRef]
Ballal, D. , and Lefebvre, A. , 1978, “ Ignition of Liquid Fuel Sprays at Subatmospheric Pressures,” Combust. Flame, 31, pp. 115–126. [CrossRef]
Burger, V. , Yates, A. , Mosbach, T. , and Gunasekaran, B. , 2014, “ Fuel Influence on Targeted Gas Turbine Combustion Properties: Part II—Detailed Results,” ASME Paper No. GT2014-25105.
Ballal, D. R. , and Lefebvre, A. H. , 1975, “ The Influence of Spark Discharge Characteristics on Minimum Ignition Energy in Flowing Gases,” Combust. Flame, 24, pp. 99–108. [CrossRef]
Rao, K. , and Lefebvre, A. , 1976, “ Minimum Ignition Energies in Flowing Kerosine–Air Mixtures,” Combust. Flame, 27, pp. 1–20. [CrossRef]
Swett, C. C. , 1957, “ Spark Ignition of Flowing Gases Using Long-Duration Discharges,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 6(1), pp. 523–532. [CrossRef]
Birch, A. D. , Brown, D. R. , and Dodson, M. G. , 1981, “ Ignition Probabilities in Turbulent Mixing Flows,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 18(1), pp. 1775–1780. [CrossRef]
Sforzo, B. , 2014, “ High Energy Spark Ignition in Non-Premixed Flowing Combustors,” Ph.D. thesis, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA. https://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/53014
Kim, J. , Sforzo, B. , Seitzman, J. , and Jagoda, J. , 2012, “ High Energy Spark Discharges for Ignition,” AIAA Paper No. 2012-4172.
Goodwin, D. , 2009, “ cantera: An Object-Oriented Software Toolkit for Chemical Kinetics, Thermodynamics, and Transport Processes,” Caltech, Pasadena, CA.
Schulz, J. , Gottiparthi, K. , and Menon, S. , 2012, “ Ionization in Gaseous Detonation Waves,” Shock Waves, 22(6), pp. 579–590. [CrossRef]
Bose, D. , and Candler, G. V. , 1996, “ Thermal Rate Constants of the N2 + O → NO + N Reaction Using Ab Initio 3A″ and 3A′ Potential Energy Surfaces,” J. Chem. Phys., 104(8), pp. 2825–2833. [CrossRef]
Park, C. , Howe, J. , Jaffe, R. , and Candler, G. , 1994, “ Review of Chemical-Kinetic Problems of Future NASA Missions,” J. Thermophys. Heat Transfer, 7(3), pp. 385–398. [CrossRef]
Teulet, P. , Sarrette, J. P. , and Gomes, A. M. , 1999, “ Calculation of Electron Impact Inelastic Cross Sections and Rate Coefficients for Diatomic Molecules. Application to Air Molecules,” J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer, 62(5), pp. 549–569. [CrossRef]
McBride, B. J. , Zehe, M. J. , and Gordon, S. , 2002, “ NASA Glenn Coefficients for Calculating Thermodynamic Properties of Individual Species,” National Aeronautics and Space Administration, John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, Cleveland, OH, Report No. TP-2002-211556. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20020085330
Wang, H. , Xu, R. , Hanson, R. K. , Davidson, D. F. , and Bowman, C. T. , 2015, “ A HyChem Model of Jet Fuel Combustion,” personal communication.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic of the experimental flow facility. Air supplied to a common plenum is divided into upper and lower flows by a movable splitter plate. The plate was fixed at 6.35 mm for the current work and the igniter was raised 3.18 mm above the test section floor.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematic of the fuel and air delivery flow path to the experimental test section

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Velocity profiles, vertically traversing along the midplane of the facility at two downstream distances from the splitter plate. The x-direction is streamwise and y-direction is vertical.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Schlieren image sequence of the ignition kernel ejecting into the crossflow at times after the discharge. Flow is from left to right at v = 6 m/s and the horizontal line denotes the splitter height.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Emission of growing flame following an ignition event. Edge tracking was used to determine ignition success.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Reduced-order reactor model implemented in cantera

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Volumetric growth of the spark kernel following discharge

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Binned ignition probabilities for each fuel. The bottom right axes show the ignition probabilities of each fuel relative to the baseline fuel (A-2) at ϕ=0.75, based on the quadratic model for each fuel.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Actual-by-predicted plot depicting the fidelity of the polynomial model to capture variability in the data. The line represents perfect matching of prediction to data.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Tornado plot listing the model parameters in their order of model significance. The lines indicate an α = 0.05 significance level for the t-ratio.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Area growth of chemiluminescence signals for three fuels. The “C1 shifted” signal has been advanced by 1.33 ms.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Temperature evolution of the plasma (dashed) and four ignition simulations at varying ϕ. Input conditions were Ti = 420 K and τtransit = 90 μs.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Composition evolution for a failed ignition case (dashed, ϕ=0.8) and a successful ignition (solid, ϕ=0.9) in the cantera simulation. Both cases were run with Ti = 420 K and τtransit = 90 μs.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Boundary between cases that fail for all input ϕ values and those that have cases with ignition success, as plotted for input temperatures and transit times



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