(photograph) Staged combustor combustor at University of Tennessee, College of Engineering, Combustion Research Laboratory, part of the Chaos Research Group's current interests. Tubes (in the lower part of the photograph) supply fuel (methane) and air. The quartz (transparent) tube helps to control staging by limiting unmetered (room) air flow into the combustion area. Primary air and fuel flow through the central tube, and secondary air is introduced in the outer tube along the periphery of the quartz tube. The ratio of primary and secondary air flows determines the degree of combustion staging, from a pure premixed flame to a pure diffusion flame.
Common industrial combustors include fluidized-bed combustors, gas turbines, and oil and coal boilers. In addition to its research on cold fluidized-bed models and pulse combustors, the CRG works with government and industrial partners to examine certain commercial combustors.
Seminal studies on simple combustion processes, such as those in flat-flame burners, have suggested that flame dynamics, and accompanying combustion, can be chaotic in nature. In the case of a coal-fired boiler burner, the combustion dynamics has been found to be chaotic, largely because of hydrodynamic instabilities of air flows near where the coal and air mix for combustion. The CRG is continuing to study this type of burner with the objective of controlling the global flame dynamics to achieve better emissions and fuel-consumtion performance.
Recently (1998.5 - 1999.25), we have been examining the dynamics of a laboratory-scale gas-fueled staged combustor to aid in developing models for utility-scale burner systems.
Most recently (2000.5 - 2002.0), we have applied knowledge in nonlinear dynamics and combustion to produce a real-time boiler-monitoring and diagnostics software package for the Electric Power Research Institute. FlameDoctorTM begins beta testing in participating utility generating stations in Q1 2002.
We have compiled a "Bibliography of chaos and combustion" to assist in further research.
Primary contacts for this research area are: C.S. Daw, K. Nguyen, and C.E.A. Finney.
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Updated: 2001-12-27 ceaf