Combustion and Flame, Vol.205, 147-153, 2019
Conditions for formation of the blue whirl
This paper presents a laboratory study of the relation between blue whirls and fire whirls in terms of circulation (swirl) and energy-release rate. The blue whirl is a small, completely blue, soot-free flame that was originally seen when it evolved from more traditional fire whirls burning liquid hydrocarbons on water. The experimental apparatus consists of two offset quartz half-cylinders suspended over a water surface, with fuel injected onto the water surface from below. The flow circulation is calculated using the diameter of the enclosure and hot-wire velocity measurements made at the inlet gap between the half-cylinders. The heat-release rate was varied by adjusting the volumetric supply rate of liquid n-heptane, and is calculated assuming complete combustion. Results show that stable blue whirls form in a narrow range of circulation and energy-release rate close to a previously cited extinction limit. A scaling law derived from the data, based on the length scale of the enclosure, shows that the transition to a blue whirl depends on the gap size between the half-cylinders of the enclosure. (C) 2019 The Combustion Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.