Elucidation of Flame Spread and Group Combustion Excitation Mechanism of Randomly-distributed Droplet Clouds (Group Combustion) - 01.30.19

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The Elucidation of Flame Spread and Group Combustion Excitation Mechanism of Randomly-distributed Droplet Clouds (Group Combustion) investigation by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency tests a theory that fuel sprays change from partial to group combustion as flames spread across a cloud of droplets. In the Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack in the Kibo module, droplets of decane, a component of gasoline or kerosene, are arranged randomly on thin-fiber lattice points, and the flame and droplet positions and temperature distribution are measured as the flame spreads. Microgravity blocks convection, which on Earth would quickly disperse the droplets and combustion products before such measurements could be made.
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The following content was provided by Masao Kikuchi, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Experiment Details

OpNom: Group Combustion

Principal Investigator(s)
Masato Mikami, Ph.D., Yamaguchi University, Tokiwadai, Japan

Hiroshi Nomura, Ph.D., College of Industrial Technology, Chiba 275-8575, Japan
Osamu Moriue, Ph.D., Graduate School of Engineering, Japan
Akira Umemura, Department of Aerospece Engineering Graduate School of Engineering Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
Daniel L. Dietrich, Ph.D., Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, United States
Masao Kikuchi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Japan

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
This investigation is the first combustion experiment to be performed onboard the KIBO.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The understanding  of the mechanism of the combustion of liquid fuel spray is one of the most important issues  in combustion science. In spray combustion, a burning state called “group combustion”, inside which one flame surrounds many droplets, occurs depending on various conditions. Excitation of group combustion, which is important for stable combustion of spray, would be caused by flame spread among fuel droplets. For better understanding and prediction of spray combustion behavior, therefore, it is essential to clarify flame spread mechanism of fuel droplets by using microgravity environment which enables employment of relatively larger droplets than those in real sprays.
  • Flame spread phenomena of fuel droplet clouds are observed in detail for verification of the hypothesis which are related to flame spread characteristics of fuel droplets. n-decane (C10H22) is employed as fuel. Fuel droplets are deployed on crossing points of Silicon Carbide (SiC) fiber lattice (30 x 30, diameter: 14 micrometer) or on single SiC fiber (diameter: 78 micrometer). An edge droplet is ignited by electrically heated wire to initiate flame spread among droplets. Effects of droplets arrangement, droplet interval, and initial droplet diameter on flame spread phenomena are investigated. Obtained data will be compared with prediction by a proposed flame spread model.
  • Microgravity environment provides us several advantages for the present investigation. The largest merit is magnification of the relevant physical scale such as droplet diameter and droplet interval as well as time scale such as the necessary time for flame to spread between droplets can be possible without induction of natural convection. So, space experiments are expected to reveal the nature of flame spread among fuel droplets through detail and precise observation of well-defined configuration. The findings and knowledge obtained through space experiment is applied to improvement of theoretical and numerical model to treat flame spread behavior among fuel droplets. Finally, it is expected that such model enables us improved prediction of complicated bahavior of spray combustion, leading to design of advanced spray combustors such as aero engines, gas turbines, and industrial furnaces.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
Rocket engines widely use spray combustion of liquid propellants immediately after injection into the combustion chamber. The high speeds of fuel and oxidizer as they move through the combustion chamber make it virtually impossible to analyze the droplet and flame interactions. Group Combustion will help improve numerical simulations used to predict spray combustion behavior in development of advanced rocket engines.

Earth Applications
Group Combustion will help improve flame-spread modeling for better prediction of spray combustion in cleaner, energy-efficient engines. It will provide clear guidelines for designing a spray combustor with stable combustion and bridge theory between droplet and spray combustion.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

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Results Publications

    Mikami M, Yoshida Y, Seo T, Sakashita T, Kikuchi M, Suzuki T, Nokura M.  Space-based microgravity experiments on flame spread over randomly distributed n-decane-droplet clouds: Overall flame-spread characteristics. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2018 August 1; 30(4): 535-542. DOI: 10.1007/s12217-018-9637-2.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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