Browse Publications Technical Papers 2012-01-1724

Effects of the Biodiesel Fuel Physical Properties on the Swirl Stabilised Spray Combustion Characteristics 2012-01-1724

An increasin g interest in biofuel applications in modern engines requires a better understanding of biodiesel combustion behaviour. Many numerical studies have been carried out on unsteady combustion of biodiesel in situations similar to diesel engines, but very few studies have been done on the steady combustion of biodiesel in situations similar to a gas turbine combustor environment. The study of biodiesel spray combustion in gas turbine applications is of special interest due to the possible use of biodiesel in the power generation and aviation industries. In modelling spray combustion, an accurate representation of the physical properties of the fuel is a first important step, since spray formation is largely influenced by fuel properties such as viscosity, density, surface tension and vapour pressure. In the present work, a calculated biodiesel properties database based on the measured composition of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) has been implemented in a multi-dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) spray simulation code. Simulations of non-reacting and reacting atmospheric-pressure sprays of both diesel and biodiesel have been carried out using a spray burner configuration for which experimental data is available. A pre-defined droplet size probability density function (pdf) has been implemented together with droplet dynamics based on phase Doppler anemometry (PDA) measurements in the near-nozzle region. The gas phase boundary condition for the reacting spray cases is similar to that of the experiment which employs a plain air-blast atomiser and a straight-vane axial swirler for flame stabilisation. A reaction mechanism for heptane has been used to represent the chemistry for both diesel and biodiesel. Simulated flame heights, spray characteristics and gas phase velocities have been found to compare well with the experimental results. In the reacting spray cases, biodiesel shows a smaller mean droplet size compared to that of diesel at a constant fuel mass flow rate. A lack of sensitivity towards different fuel properties has been observed based on the non-reacting spray simulations, which indicates a need for improved models of secondary breakup. By comparing the results of the non-reacting and reacting spray simulations, an improvement in the complexity of the physical modelling is achieved which is necessary in the understanding of the complex physical processes involved in spray combustion simulation.


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