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An Efficient Numerical Model of Pulsating Combustion and Its Experimental Validation

[+] Author Affiliations
Luca Casarsa, Pietro Giannattasio

University of Udine, Udine, Italy

Diego Micheli

University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy

Paper No. IMECE2009-10439, pp. 73-88; 16 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Combustion Science and Engineering
  • Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, November 13–19, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4376-5 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3863-1
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


A simple and efficient numerical model is presented for the simulation of pulse combustors. It is based on the numerical solution of the quasi-1D unsteady flow equations and on phenomenological sub-models of turbulence and combustion. The gas dynamics equations are solved by using the Flux Difference Splitting (FDS) technique, a finite-volume upwind numerical scheme, and ENO reconstructions to obtain second-order accurate non-oscillatory solutions. The numerical fluxes computed at the cell interfaces are used to transport also the reacting species, their formation energy and the turbulent kinetic energy. The combustion progress in each cell is evaluated explicitly at the end of each time step according to a second-order overall reaction kinetics. In this way, the computations of gas dynamic evolution and heat release are decoupled, which makes the model particularly simple and efficient. A comprehensive set of measurements has been performed on a small Helmholtz type pulse-jet in order to validate the model. Air and fuel consumptions, wall temperatures, pressure cycles in both combustion chamber and tail-pipe, and instantaneous thrust have been recorded in different operating conditions of the device. The comparison between numerical and experimental results turns out to be satisfactory in all the working conditions of the pulse-jet. In particular, accurate predictions are obtained of the device operating frequency and of shape, amplitude and phase of the pressure waves in both combustion chamber and tail-pipe.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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