Obtaining pseudo-OH* radiation images from CFD solutions of transcritical flames

Federica Tonti, Jaka Perovšek, Jose’ Zapata Usandivaras, Sebastian Karl, Justin S. Hardi, Youhi Morii, Michael Oschwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The quantitative comparison of experimental data and results from CFD simulations is still an ongoing challenge in the investigation of high pressure combustion in rocket combustion chambers. This is due to the extreme environment which develops in liquid propellant rocket engines, which represent a challenge for experimental data collection. OH* radiation emitted from the flame has often been designated as an indicator of the combustion zone, because of its relative ease of detection with appropriate cameras. A method was developed to compare OH* radiation originating from cryogenic oxygen-hydrogen flames in an experimental combustor with the CFD simulation results. Pseudo-OH* images were obtained from CFD results of two combustors. The method consists in obtaining the path of a ray of light by a reverse ray tracing algorithm and sampling the thermodynamic properties along the path of the ray, simulating the emission and absorption spectra in the wavelength range of interest, in this case of OH* emission during combustion. The spectral radiance is then determined by solving the differential radiative transfer equation. Finally, the total radiance is calculated integrating the spectral radiance. The results obtained applying this method are then compared with former results of two test cases, a laminar and a turbulent flame, and with the related experimental data. An improvement of the comparison with the experimental data was achieved in terms of the prediction of self-absorption, which was underestimated in previous works by a factor of 15, and in terms of radiance near the injection plane, where difference is estimated to be about 40% when including refraction. The method allows for more direct comparison between 3D CFD results and 2D experimental images collected by the optical setup and probes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111614
JournalCombustion and Flame
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov


  • CFD
  • Flame emission
  • High-pressure combustion
  • Radiation modelling
  • Ray tracing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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