Purdue University Graduate School
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Reduction of Mixture Stratification in a Constant-Volume Combustor

posted on 2021-11-22, 15:00 authored by Richard Zachary RoweRichard Zachary Rowe
When studying pressure-gain combustion and wave rotor combustors, it is vital that any experimental model accurately reflect the real world conditions/applications being studied; this not only confirms previous computational and analytical work, but also provides new insights into how these concepts and devices work in real life. However, mixture stratification can have a noticeable effect on multiple combustion properties, including flame propagation, pressure, ignition time delay, and more, and this is especially true in constant-volume combustion chambers. Because it is beneficial to model wave rotor systems using constant-volume combustors such as what is employed in the IUPUI Combustion and Propulsion Research Laboratory, these stratification effects much be taken into account and reduced if possible. This study sought to find an effective method to reduce stratification in a rectangular constant-volume combustion chamber by means of manual recirculation pump. Spark-ignited flames were first produced in the chamber itself and studied using schlieren and color videography techniques as well as quantitative pressure histories. After determining the pump's effectiveness in reducing stratification, it was next employed when a hot jet of combustion products from a separate combustion chamber was used as an ignition source instead of the spark plug - a process typically employed in real wave rotor combustors. Lastly, the pump was used to study the leakage from the system for future test cases in order to offer further recommendations on how to effectively use the recirculation system. This process found that key properties significant to wave rotor development, such as time ignition delay, were affected by these stratification effects in past studies that did not account for this detail. As such, the pump has been permanently incorporated into the wave rotor model, as stratification is a vital. Additionally, significant fuel leakage is possible during rotational pre-chamber cases, and this should be address before proceeding with such experiments in the future. To combat this, the pump system has been reduced in volume, and suggestions have been provided on how to better seal the main rectangular chamber in the future.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Mohamed Razi Nalim

Additional Committee Member 2

Carlos Larriba-Andaluz

Additional Committee Member 3

Huidan (Whitney) Yu