Evaluation criteria for a flameless combustor based on recirculation and mixing

Research Highlights

  • Preliminary evaluation criteria for flameless combustors design is proposed.
  • Reducing the air jet diameter by 50% results in 100% increase of recirculation ratio.
  • Scaling down the combustor by 50% results in 66% reduction of recirculation ratio.
  • Minimum recirculation ratio for flameless operation increases with excess air ratio.
  • Recirculation ratio is linked to combustor geometry through developed correlations.


In the present work, the effect of combustor geometry and inlet air velocity on flameless critical parameters such as recirculation ratio and mixing is investigated. The main objective is to develop evaluation criteria for flameless combustors design based on these critical parameters. A simple lab scale combustor with central air jet arrangement is employed for the analysis. Three-dimensional computations were performed under non-reacting conditions using ANSYS Fluent. Reducing the air jet diameter to half its original value leads to a 100% increase in the recirculation ratio, which promotes flameless operation. Moreover, it results in a slightly more than 200% increase in turbulence intensity, which encourages hot products entrainment and accelerates mixing with incoming reactants. From another side, scaling down the combustor to half its original size results in 66% reduction of recirculation ratio, which might suppress flameless operation. Besides, it accelerates incoming reactants mixing in the near burner region due to the increased jet spreading and decay rate. These results show the considerable influence of combustor geometry on recirculation ratio and mixing. Furthermore, the critical role of later parameters in the previously reported transition between conventional and flameless combustion modes for the present combustor is demonstrated. A threshold value of recirculation ratio, Kcritical, is found critical for flameless operation and is noticed to increase with increasing excess air ratio. Therefore, the two parameters are linked together through a developed mathematical correlation. Finally, combustor geometry is represented through the dimensionless parameters; air jet to combustor diameter ratio, and combustor scaling factor. Recirculation ratio is linked to these parameters through additional correlations. Through these developed correlations, geometry aspects for flameless combustors can be preliminary identified and/or evaluated.

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