Study on the combustion limit, near-limit extinction boundary, and flame regimes of low-Lewis-number CH4/O2/CO2 counterflow flames under microgravity

Tomoya Okuno, Hisashi Nakamura, Takuya Tezuka, Susumu Hasegawa, Koichi Takase, Masato Katsuta, Masao Kikuchi, Kaoru Maruta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


To obtain an accurate and comprehensive understanding on the fuel-lean combustion limit, near-limit extinction boundary and flame regimes, experimental and numerical investigations using premixed counterflow flames were conducted for low-Lewis-number mixtures. Counterflow flame experiments were conducted under microgravity (2.2 ≦ a ≦ 12.9 s−1) and under normal gravity (35 ≦ a ≦ 150 s−1) using fuel-lean CH4/O2/CO2 mixtures (Le = 0.75) where a is the stretch rate. The mole fraction ratio of O2 to CO2 in the mixtures was 0.40. Microgravity experiments at a = 2.7–3.2 s−1 showed that transitions from planar flames to ball-like flames occurred near extinction for the investigated mixture. In addition to planar flames and ball-like flames, multi-dimensional flames such as cellular flames and twin-curved flames were also observed at a = 2.2–5.5 s−1 in microgravity experiments. In conjunction with experimental results under normal gravity, experimental flame regimes for overall stretch rates were obtained for the first time and the region where ball-like flames were observed showed a qualitative agreement with our previous study based on the 3-D transient computations with the diffusive-thermal model. Extinction points obtained by microgravity experiments were found to scatter at very low stretch rates where multi-dimensional flames such as ball-like flames and cellular flames were observed, indicating the existence of a flame regime at lower stretch rates leaner than the planar counterflow flame extinction boundary. In addition, flame bifurcation at low stretch rates and at ϕ = 0.58 and 0.60 were experimentally observed for the present low-Lewis-number mixture, indicating the validity of the previous computational and theoretical studies on the G-shaped extinction curve of planar counterflow flames.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalCombustion and Flame
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1


  • Counterflow premixed flames
  • Flame ball
  • Flammability limit
  • Microgravity combustion
  • Radiative extinction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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