Combustion Science and Technology, Vol.178, No.10-11, 1957-1975, 2006
An experimental study on flame propagation in cornstarch dust clouds
Following the quantitative determination of dust cloud parameters, this study investigates the flame propagation through cornstarch dust clouds in a vertical duct of 780 mm height and 160 x 160 mm square cross section, and gives particular attention to the effect of small scale turbulence and small turbulence intensity on flame characteristics. Dust suspensions in air were produced using an improved apparatus ensuring more uniform distribution and repeatable dust concentrations in the testing duct. The dispersion-induced turbulence was measured by means of a particle image velocimetry (PIV) system, and dust concentrations were estimated by direct weighing method. This quantitative assessment made it possible to correlate observed flame behaviors with the parameters of the dust cloud. Upward propagating dust flames, from both closed/open bottom end to open/closed top end of the duct, were visualized by direct light and shadow photography. From the observation of propagation regimes and the measurements of flame velocity, a critical value of the turbulence intensity can be specified below which laminar flame propagation would be established. This transition condition was determined to be 10 cm/s. Laminar flames propagated with oscillations from the closed bottom end to the open top end of the testing duct, while the turbulent flames accelerated continuously. Both laminar and turbulent flames propagated with steady velocity from the open bottom end to the closed top end of the duct. The measured propagation velocity of laminar flames appeared to be in the range of 0.45-0.56 m/s, and it was consistent with the measurements reported in the literature. In the present experimental study, the influence of dust concentration on flame propagation was also examined, and the flame propagation velocity was found weakly sensitive to the variations in dust concentration. Some information on the flame structure was revealed from the shadow records, showing the typical heterogeneous feature of the dust combustion process.
Keywords:cornstarch;dust concentration;dust dispersion process;dust flame;flame propagation;turbulence