A comparison of the thermal, emission and heat transfer characteristics of swirl-stabilized premixed and inverse diffusion flames

H. S. Zhen, C. W. Leung, C. S. Cheung

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Two swirl-stabilized flames, a premixed flame (PMF-s) and an inverse diffusion flame (IDF-s), were investigated experimentally in order to obtain information on their thermal, emission and heat transfer characteristics. The two flames, having different global air/fuel mixing mechanisms, were compared under identical air and fuel flow rates. Results showed that the two flames have similar visual features such as flame shape, size and structure because the Reynolds number and the swirl number which are important parameters representative of the aerodynamic characteristics of a swirling jet flow, are almost the same for the two flames. The minor dissimilarity in flame color and flame length indicates that the IDF-s is more diffusional. Both the PMF-s and IDF-s are stabilized by the internal recirculation zone (IRZ) and the IDF-s is more stable. Flame temperature is uniformly distributed in the IRZ due to the strong mixing caused by flow recirculation. The highest flame temperature is achieved at the main reaction zone and it is higher for the PMF-s due to more rapid and localized heat release. For the IDF-s, the thermal NO mechanism dominates the NOx formation. For the PMF-s, both the thermal and prompt mechanisms tend to play important roles in the global NOx emission under rich conditions. The comparison of EINOx and EICO shows that the PMF-s has lower level of NOx emission under lean combustion and lower level of CO emission under all conditions. The reason is that the air/fuel premixing in the PMF-s significantly enhances the mixedness of the supplied air/fuel mixture. The analysis of the behaviors of the impinging PMF-s and IDF-s heat transfer reveals that because the PMF-s has more rapid and localized heat release at the main reaction zone, the peak heat flux is higher than that of the IDF-s and the IDF-s has more uniform heating effect. A comparison of the overall heat transfer rates shows that, due to more complete combustion, the PMF-s has higher overall heat transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1263-1271
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Induced swirl
  • Inverse diffusion flame
  • LPG/air combustion
  • Premixed flame
  • Thermal and emission characteristics


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