Comparative Study of the Counterflow Forced Ignition of the Butanol Isomers at Atmospheric and Elevated Pressures

Authors: K. B. Brady, X. Hui, and C. J. Sung

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In support of the development of robust combustion models, the present study describes experimental and computational results on the non-premixed counterflow ignition of all four butanol isomers against heated air for pressures of 1–4 atm, pressure-weighted strain rates of 200–400 s−1, and fuel molar fractions in nitrogen-diluted mixtures of 0.05–0.25. Comparison of the parametric effects of varied pressure, strain rate, and fuel loading among the isomers facilitates a comprehensive evaluation of the effect of varied structural isomerism on transport-affected ignition. The experimental results are simulated using isomer-specific skeletal mechanisms developed from two comprehensive butanol models available in the literature, and are used to validate and assess the performance of these models. Comparison of the experimental and computational results reveal that while both models largely capture the trends in ignition temperature as functions of pressure-weighted strain rate, fuel loading, and pressure, for all isomers both models over-predict the experimental data to an appreciable extent. In addition, neither model captures the experimentally-observed ignition temperature rankings, with both models predicting a large spread among n-/iso-/sec-butanol which does not appear in the experimental results. Sensitivity and path analyses reveal that the butene isomers play a significant role in determining the ignition temperatures of the butanol isomers in both models, with the relative branching ratios likely accounting for the ignition temperature rankings observed using each model. It is observed that the reactivity of the butene isomers varies appreciably between the two butanol models, which may account for some of the variability in predictions between the two models. Furthermore, effects of transport properties and their uncertainties on ignition temperature predictions are discussed.

Citation: K. B. Brady, X. Hui, and C. J. Sung, “Comparative Study of the Counterflow Forced Ignition of the Butanol Isomers at Atmospheric and Elevated Pressures,” Combustion and Flame 165, 34-49 (2016).