A study of flame spread along a droplet array at elevated pressures up to a supercritical pressure

Jeong Park, Hideaki Kobayashi, Takashi Niioka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental investigations on flame spread along a droplet array have been conducted at elevated pressures up to supercritical pressures of the fuel droplet under normal gravity and microgravity. The flame spread rate is measured using high-speed chemiluminescence images of OH radicals and direct visualization is employed to observe the images of the vaporizing fuel around the unburnt droplet. The mode of flame spread is categorized into two: a continuous mode and an intermittent one. There exist a limit droplet spacing and a limit ambient pressure in normal gravity, above which flame spread does not occur. It is seen that flame spread rate is dependent upon the relative position of flame to droplet spacing. In microgravity, the limit droplet spacing of flame spread and the droplet spacing of maximum flame spread rate are larger than those in normal gravity. In microgravity, the flame spread rate with ambient pressure decreases initially, shows a minimum, and then decreases again after taking a maximum. Flame spread time is determined by competing effects between the increased transfer time of the thermal boundary layer due to reduced flame diameter and the decreased ignition delay time in terms of the increase of ambient pressure. In normal gravity, the flame spread rate with ambient pressure decreases monotonically and there exists a limit ambient pressure, except at small droplet spacing, under which flame spread extends to the range of supercritical pressures of fuel. This is because natural convection induces the upward flow of hot gases into a plume above the burning droplets and limits the lateral transfer of thermal boundary layer. Consequently, it is found that flame spread behaviour under microgravity is considerably different from that under normal gravity due to the absence of natural convection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-826
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jul


  • Continuous mode
  • Droplet spacing
  • Flame propagation
  • Flame spread
  • Intermittent mode
  • Subcritical pressure
  • Supercritical pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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