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Using symbolic dynamics for characterizing the lean-limit behavior of a chaotic thermal pulse combustor

K.D. Edwards, C.E.A. Finney, K. Nguyen
University of Tennessee
Knoxville TN 37996-2210

C.S. Daw
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Knoxville TN 37932-6472

The application of symbolic dynamics to the problem of cyclic variations in a thermal pulse combustor operating near the fuel-lean flammability limit is presented. The benefits of pulsed combustion result from the enhanced heat and mass transfer associated with pulsating exhaust flow. By operating in the lean condition, it is possible to increase fuel efficiency and reduce pollutant emissions. However, as the fuel-air mixture is made increasingly lean, nonlinear combustion instabilities develop which negate the benefits of lean operation and can even lead to flame-out of the combustor. Symbol sequence statistics have been shown useful in analysis of noisy data, and in this paper it is shown that such data coarse-graining techniques are effective in highlighting cycle-to-cycle dynamical patterns associated with the combustion instabilities. Knowledge of these patterns could be exploited to achieve chaos control to reduce cyclic variability and prevent flame-out of pulse combustors operating in the lean limit.

Edwards KD, Finney CEA, Nguyen K, Daw CS (1997). Using symbolic dynamics for characterizing the lean-limit behavior of a chaotic thermal pulse combustor. Fourth Experimental Chaos Conference (Boca Raton, Florida USA; 1997 August 06-08), Paper P16.
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