Droplet combustion experiments in varying forced convection using microgravity environment

Masaki Mitsuya, Hironao Hanai, Satoru Sakurai, Yasuhiro Ogami, Hideaki Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A new microscopic model of the interaction between droplet flames and fine vortex tubes which compose a coherent structure of turbulence was developed. Three non-dimensional numbers were introduced to extend the length scale and time scale so as to be suitable for microgravity experiments using droplets of combustion of about 1 mm in diameter. An experimental apparatus for combustion of a single droplet and that of an array of two droplets in varying airflow was developed, and experiments were performed in microgravity and normal gravity at pressures up to 2.0 MPa for n-nonane and ethanol as fuels. Variations of the instantaneous burning rate constant, Ki, in response to the varying flow velocity was successfully observed. At high pressure, the effects of droplet Reynolds number Re on Ki was clearly seen, while the effects of natural convection, which increases Ki with Re, was seen in normal gravity even in the forced airflows. As for the experiments on combustion of an array of two droplets, Ki reduction of the downstream droplet became weak when the flow direction was varied. However, the Ki reduction of the downstream droplet for flow direction variations was clearly seen for n-nonane droplets but almost not for ethanol droplets. The interaction mechanism between upstream and downstream droplets is considered to result from the elimination of oxidizer supply to the downstream droplet, indicating strong interaction effects of n-nonane droplets for a stoichiometric oxygen-fuel ratio of n-nonane (i.e., 14.0) greater than that of ethanol (i.e., 3.0).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-921
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Dec


  • Droplet combustion
  • Forced convection
  • Microgravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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