Stability analysis for the onset of thermoacoustic oscillations in a gas-filled looped tube

H. Hyodo, N. Sugimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper develops a stability analysis for the onset of thermoacoustic oscillations in a gas-filled looped tube with a stack inserted, subject to a temperature gradient. Analysis is carried out based on approximate theories for a thermoviscous diffusion layer derived from the thermoacoustic-wave equation taking account of the temperature dependence of the viscosity and the heat conductivity. Assuming that the stack consists of many pores axially and that the thickness of the diffusion layer is much thicker than the pore radius, the diffusion wave equation with higher-order terms included is applied for the gas in the pores of the stack. For the gas outside of the pores, the theory of a thin diffusion layer is applied. In a section called the buffer tube over which the temperature relaxes from that at the hot end of the stack to room temperature, the effects of the temperature gradient are taken into account. With plausible temperature distributions specified on the walls of the stack and the buffer tube, the solutions to the equations in both theories are obtained and a frequency equation is finally derived analytically by matching the conditions at the junctions between the various sections. Seeking a real solution to the frequency equation, marginal conditions of instability are obtained numerically not only for the one-wave mode but also for the two-wave mode, where the tube length corresponds to one wavelength and two wavelengths, respectively. It is revealed that the marginal conditions depend not only on the thickness of the diffusion layer but also on the porosity of the stack. Although the toroidal geometry allows waves to be propagated in both senses along the tube, it is found that the wave propagating in the sense from the cold to the hot end through the stack is always greater, so that a travelling wave in this sense emerges as a whole. The spatial and temporal variations of excess pressure and mean axial velocity averaged over the cross-section of a flow passage are displayed for the two modes of oscillations at the marginal state. The spatial distribution of mean acoustic energy flux (acoustic intensity) over one period is also shown. It is unveiled that the energy flux is generated only in the stack, and it decays slowly in the other sections by lossy effects due to a boundary layer. Mechanisms for the generation of the acoustic energy flux are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-618
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustics
  • Instability
  • Waves/free-surface flows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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