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Title: Localized microwave pulsed plasmas for ignition and flame front enhancement
Authors: Michael, James B
Advisors: Miles, Richard B
Contributors: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department
Keywords: Combustion
Laser diagnostics
Subjects: Aerospace engineering
Mechanical engineering
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Modern combustor technologies require the ability to match operational parameters to rapidly changing demands. Challenges include variable power output requirements, variations in air and fuel streams, the requirement for rapid and well-controlled ignition, and the need for reliability at low fuel mixture fractions. Work on subcritical microwave coupling to flames and to weakly ionized laser-generated plasmas has been undertaken to investigate the potential for pulsed microwaves to allow rapid combustion control, volumetric ignition, and leaner combustion. Two strategies are investigated. First, subcritical microwaves are coupled to femtosecond laser-generated ionization to ignite methane/air mixtures in a quasi-volumetric fashion. Total energy levels are comparable to the total minimum ignition energies for laser and spark discharges, but the combined strategy allows a 90 percent reduction in the required laser energy. In addition, well-defined multi-dimensional ignition patterns are designated with multiple laser passes. Second, microwave pulse coupling to laminar flame fronts is achieved through interaction with chemiionization-produced electrons in the reaction zone. This energy deposition remains well-localized for a single microwave pulse, resulting in rapid temperature rises of greater than 200 K and maintaining flame propagation in extremely lean methane/air mixtures. The lean flammability limit in methane/air mixtures with microwave coupling has been decreased from an equivalence ratio 0.6 to 0.3. Additionally, a diagnostic technique for laser tagging of nitrogen for velocity measurements is presented. The femtosecond laser electronic excitation tagging (FLEET) technique utilizes a 120 fs laser to dissociate nitrogen along a laser line. The relatively long-lived emission from recombining nitrogen atoms is imaged with a delayed and fast-gated camera to measure instantaneous velocities. The emission strength and lifetime in air and pure nitrogen allow instantaneous velocity measurements. FLEET is shown to perform in high temperature and reactive mixtures.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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