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Fuels and Combustion

The field of combustion is extremely broad, covering;
• Theoretical
• Experimental
• and Numerical areas
Importance of Combustion in Various
• Now let us address the question "Why is combustion important?“
• As we know, a very high percentage ( ~80%) of energy comes from
combustion of
• liquids (such as gasoline and hydrocarbon fuels),
• solids (such as coal and wood), and
• gases (such as natural gas composed of largely methane and other
hydrocarbons like ethane, propane, butanes, and pentanes)
Applications of Combustion
Power Generation
• Coal particles are burned in furnaces of power stations to produce steam for driving
turbines in order to generate electricity
• Liquid fuels are used as the source of energy for transportation purposes with
automobiles, aircrafts, ships, etc.
• Natural gases are used for gas turbines, reciprocating engines, etc.
• Solid propellants and fuels are burned in rocket motors for space and missile propulsion
• Fuel cells are used for direct electricity production (strictly speaking, not a combustion
process but involving chemical reactions)
• Waste materials are incinerated

It is anticipated that combustion will remain a predominant source of

power for many generations.
The coal storage on earth can still be used for another thousand years.
Applications of Combustion……
Process Industry for Production of Engineering Materials
• Production of iron, steel, glass, ceramics, cement, carbon black,
refined fuels, etc., through thermal heating processes
• Direct fabrication of ceramic materials by self-propagating high-
temperature synthesis (SHS) processes
• Combustion synthesis of nanosized powders
Applications of Combustion……
Household and Industrial Heating
• Heating of residence homes, industrial factories, offices, hospitals,
schools, and various types of buildings and many special facilities
Safety Protections for Unwanted Combustion
• Fire prevention for forest fires
• Fire prevention for building fires
• Reduction of industrial explosions
• Reduction of susceptibility for deflagration-to-detonation transitions
leading to catastrophic hazards
Applications of Combustion……
Pollutant Emission Control of Combustion Products
• Reduction of formation of NOx, SOx, CO, etc.
• Reduction of formation of particulates such as soot, coke, etc.
• Control of the temperature and chemical compositions of combustion
• Control of the production rate of greenhouse gases such as CO2
Applications of Combustion……
Active Control of Combustion Processes
• Control of combustion instabilities in various propulsion systems
• Enhancement of combustion efficiencies of reactors by external
energy sources, such as acoustic emission
• Enhancement of combustion efficiencies of certain systems with
injection of nano-sized energetic particles
"Why is it necessary to burn in chemical rockets?"
As we know, chemical rockets are designed to produce high thrust forces during their
takeoff and flight.
In order to gain high thrust force for propulsion, we have to convert the chemical energy of
propellants to thermal energy by combustion and then expand the flow through an exit
nozzle so that a good portion of the thermal energy is converted to kinetic energy of the
discharging jet from a convergent-divergent nozzle to produce thrust.
The thrust of the propulsion system is proportional to the momentum of the exhaust jet.
The specific impulse (Isp), defined as the thrust per unit propellant weight flow rate, is
known to be proportional to the square root of flame temperature divided by the average
molecular weight of the combustion products, i.e., lsp ~ [Tf /Mw]1/2. Therefore, the higher
the Tf from combustion, the higher the lsp ·
Related Constituent Disciplines for Combustion
Besides the broad applications previously mentioned, another major
reason for the importance of combustion is the fact that many
combustion problems are yet to be solved. Our society indeed needs
many well-trained combustion engineers and scientists to tackle
numerous challenging combustion problems. The science of
combustion often involves complex interactions between many
constituent disciplines. Background in the following areas would be
very helpful for combustion studies:
Related Constituent Disciplines for Combustion
• Thermodynamics
• Chemical kinetics
• Fluid mechanics
• Heat and mass transfer
• Turbulence
• Transport phenomena
• Statistical mechanics
• Quantum physics
• Instrumentation and diagnostic techniques
• Materials' structure and behavior
• Mathematical and statistical theories
• Numerical methods
• Design of combustion test apparatus
• Data analysis and correlation methods
• Safety and hazard analysis
General Methods of Approach to Combustion
For solving combustion problems, one can consider the following
• Theoretical methods
• Numerical methods
• Experimental methods
• Any combination of the above methods

Whenever possible, it is best to be able to tackle combustion problems

both theoretically and experimentally.
General Objectives of Combustion Modeling
The objectives of combustion modeling are given below:
• To simulate certain combustion processes
• To develop predictive capability for combustion systems under various operating conditions
• To help in interpreting and understanding observed combustion phenomena
• To substitute for difficult or expensive experiments
• To guide the design of combustion experiments
• To determine the effect of individual parameters in combustion processes by conducting parametric studies

In general, any theoretical model should be validated by comparison with reliable experimental data before it
is used for prediction and evaluation of the influence of any parameters. Thus the combustion test rig design,
diagnostic measurements, and data analysis are very useful for model validation purpose.
Classification Of Combustion Problems
Usually, classification of combustion problems is based on several factors, including the time and spatial
dependence, the mixing condition of the initial reactants, flow conditions, initial phases of reactants, sites of
reactions, rate of reaction, type of convection, degree of compressibility of the flow, and speed of the
combustion wave. Table 1.1 summarizes the various classifications of combustion problems. This table is
particularly useful to beginners in becoming familiar with the terminology used in chemically reacting flows.
Classification Of Combustion Problems…..
Figure 1.1 illustrates
the essential elements
required to form a
theoretical model. It
also describes the
relationships between
various components
of the model.
It is evident that the
governing equations
are coupled to all
other branches of the
General Structure of a Theoretical Model
Governing Equations for Combustion Modeling (Conservation
and Transport Equations)
Conservation equations consist of
• Conservation of mass (continuity equation)
• Conservation of molecular species (or conservation of atomic species)
• Conservation of momentum (for each independent spatial direction)
• Conservation of energy
• Conservation of angular momentum

Usually the conservation equations are used together with the equations of state to solve for flow property
distributions, including temperature, density, pressure, velocity, and concentrations of chemical species.
The angular momentum components in different directions are solved when the conservation equations of
angular momentum are considered in the model.
General Structure of a Theoretical Model
Governing Equations for Combustion Modeling (Conservation
and Transport Equations)…..
Transport equations are additional equations that are usually required
for turbulent combustion problems; typical examples are
• Transport of turbulence kinetic energy
• Transport of turbulence dissipation rate
• Transport of turbulent Reynolds stresses
• Transport of probability density function
• Transport of moments
Several Basic Definitions
Mole Numbers
• Gaseous molecules and atoms are conveniently counted in terms of
amount of substances or mole numbers. One mole (1 mol or 1 g-mol) of
compound corresponds to 6.02252 x 1023 molecules (or atoms).
Avogadro's Number
NA = 6.02252 x 1023 molecules/mol
Mole Fraction

where ni represents the number of moles of the ith species in the mixture
Mass Fraction
Several Basic Definitions…..
Molecular Weight

Average Molecular Weight of a Mixture

This implies
Several Basic Definitions…..
Mass Density (Density)

Molar Density (Concentration)

Equation of State
• For an ideal gas, we can use the following equation of state:
Several Basic Definitions…..
Fuel-Oxidant Ratio, F/O

Equivalence Ratio, Ø
Several Basic Definitions…..
• A premixed gas mixture is said to be stoichiometric if the fuel (e.g.,
CH4 ) and oxidizer (e.g., O2) consume each other completely, forming
only carbon dioxide (C02) and water (H20); i.e.,

• If there is an excess of fuel, the system is called fuel-rich; e.g.,

• If there is an excess of oxidizer, the system is called fuel-lean; e.g.,

Several Basic Definitions…..
• If the chemical reaction equation is written in the form to describe
exactly the reaction of 1 mol of fuel, the mole fraction of the fuel in a
stoichiometric mixture with oxygen can be calculated as

• If dry air is used as the oxidizer to react with 1 mole of fuel, then the
mole fraction of the fuel in a stoichiometric mixture with dry air can
be calculated as
Several Basic Definitions…..
• The factor of 4.762 comes from (1 + 79/21), since air contains 21%
oxygen and 79% N2 (with the noble gas portion lumped into
nitrogen). Therefore, the XN2,st is related to XO2,st by

• The mole fraction of O2 in the stoichiometric mixture, XO2,st is related

to Xfuel,st by
Several Basic Definitions…..
• For a more general situation, other than stoichiometric condition, the
mole fractions of different chemical components in a combustible
mixture with air having an equivalence ratio Ø are related by the
following set of equations:
Several Basic Definitions…..
• Stoichiometry, Ψ A parameter called stoichiometry (Ψ) has been used
in the combustion field. This parameter is defined as the ratio of the
mole percent of the fuel in the combustible mixture to the mole
percent of the fuel under stoichiometric condition, i.e.,

Note that Ψ is closely related to the equivalence ratio (Ø) but they are not identical to each other
Review of Chemical Thermodynamics
• We will briefly introduce and discuss some of the fundamental
concepts of chemical thermodynamics
• To set the scope of the chemical thermodynamics, let us first make a
distinction between heat-transfer theory and thermodynamics
• Heat-transfer theory deals with energy-transfer processes within a
system or between a system and its surroundings due to a
temperature gradient
• Thermodynamics deals with systems in equilibrium and therefore is
applicable to phenomena involving flow and irreversible chemical
reactions only when departures from equilibrium are small
Review of Chemical Thermodynamics
It is useful to define thermodynamic equilibrium by considering the
following three distinct kinds of equilibrium:
• Mechanical equilibrium exists when there are no unbalanced forces in
the interior of a system or between a system and its surroundings.
• Thermal equilibrium exists when all parts of a system are at the same
temperature, which is the same as that of the surroundings.
• Chemical equilibrium exists when a system has no tendency to
undergo a spontaneous change in chemical composition, no matter
how slow.
Review of Chemical Thermodynamics
• When all three kinds of equilibrium are satisfied, the system is said to be in
a state of thermodynamic equilibrium. Under such condition, the analysis
becomes simpler, since the state variables do not change with respect to
• An intensive property is one that is unchanged when the size of the system
is increased by adding to it any number of systems that are identical to the
original system. Some intensive properties are density, pressure,
temperature, specific internal energy u, specific entropy s and so on.
• An extensive property is one that increases in proportion to the size of the
system in such a process. Some extensive properties are volume V, mass m,
total stored energy E, enthalpy H, Gibbs free energy G, kinetic energy KE,
potential energy PE, and so on.
An intensive property can be formed by dividing an extensive property by another extensive