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Institute of Thermofluids

Thermofluids and combustion

Thermofluids and Combustion

An important activity of research is driven by issues associated with burning of fuels in automotive engines and gas turbines. Aspects of interest include ignition, autoignition, structure and speed of laminar and turbulent flames at high temperatures and pressures, and effects of flame stretch on burning rates
and extinction. Applications and sponsors come from the automotive industry, fuel
manufacturers and power generation.

Our research rigs are unique and include a range of optically accessed engines,
specially developed combustion vessels and rapid compression machines, together with state-of-the-art laser diagnostic techniques, including three-dimensional imaging. This work is backed up by combustion and engine modelling and simulation.

Another area of combustion research is explosion hazards associated with storage of gaseous and liquid fuels, including mitigation and consequences of accidental explosions. Interests in this area include atmospheric
turbulent deflagrations and deflagration-to-detonation transition in ducts.

Modelling of explosives is also an active area, which is driven by efficiency issues in the mining industry.

Current/Future Research
■ Combustion characterisation of synthetic fuels and biofuels
■ Lean burning to improve engine efficiency
■ Fundamental and applied aspects of combustion in spark-ignition engines
■ Turbulent flame structure
■ Modelling of turbulent two-phase flow
■ Cellular and hydrodynamic instabilities of premixed flames
■ Auto-ignition
■ Deflagration-to-detonation transition
■ Modelling of solid and liquid explosives
■ Explosion safety of nano-powders

Laser diagnostic techniques being used and developed include: laser Doppler
anemometry (LDA) and particle image velocimetry (PIV) for mean flow velocity and
turbulence measurements, and temporally resolved three dimensional imaging for flame structure determination.

Central to the research is a range of explosion vessels that include a unique,
EPSRC funded, high temperature and pressure fan-stirred bomb. This facility has
outstanding optical access for laser based diagnostics and controlled turbulence

Specially developed optically accessed single cylinder engines provide links to research in collaboration with the motor industry.