Development of a numerical model for the electric current in burner-stabilised methane–air flames

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This study presents a new model to simulate the electric behaviour of one-dimensional ionised flames and to predict the electric currents in these flames. The model utilises Poisson’s equation to compute the electric potential. A multi-component diffusion model, including the influence of an electric field, is used to model the diffusion of neutral and charged species. The model is incorporated into the existing CHEM1D flame simulation software.Acomparison between the computed electric currents and experimental values from the literature shows good qualitative agreement for the voltage–current characteristic. Physical phenomena, such as saturation and the diodic effect, are captured by the model. The dependence of the saturation current on the equivalence ratio is also captured well for equivalence ratios between 0.6 and 1.2. Simulations show a clear relation between the saturation current and the total number of charged particles created. The model shows that the potential at which the electric field saturates is strongly dependent on the recombination rate and the diffusivity of the charged particles. The onset of saturation occurs because most created charged particles are withdrawn from the flame and because the electric field effects start dominating over mass based diffusion. It is shown that this knowledge can be used to optimise ionisation chemistry mechanisms. It is shown numerically that the so-called diodic effect is caused primarily by the distance the heavier cations have to travel to the cathode.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-187
Number of pages29
JournalCombustion Theory and Modelling
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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