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Turbulence, Shock Waves and Detonations

Academic lead
Dr Malcolm Lawes, School of Mechanical Engineering
Industrial lead
Roger Cracknell, Shell Global Solutions
Prof Alison Tomlin, School of Chemical and Process Engineering, Prof Derek Bradley, School of Mechanical Engineering
Project themes
Reacting flows, mixing and safety

There is increasing demand for the development of new fuels for automotive, power generation, industrial and other applications. This is driven by issues of climate change, emissions reduction (e.g.CO2) and fuel supply. If new fuels are to be efficiently used, without loss of power, with reduced emissions, and with safe handling and storage, it is essential to improve fundamental understanding of the combustion processes.

Of particular importance to the present project are the safety aspects of new fuels. In particular, detonations are extremely destructive and must be avoided. Recent work has shown that the development of a detonation is a function of the turbulent burning velocity and auto-ignition excitation time. Both of these parameters are little understood.

The project will involve both experimental and modelling studies. Experiments will utilise a unique turbulent combustion vessel to obtain measurements of burning velocity at high turbulence relevant to detonation. The facility has excellent optical access for laser based diagnostics that include a unique 3D imaging system developed at Leeds. The auto-ignition excitation time is very difficult to accurately measure. Therefore, advantage will be taken of world leading chemical kinetic modelling facilities in the Energy Research Institute to calculate these.