Development of novel laser diagnostic techniques for the quantitative study of premixed flames
The main topic of this thesis concerns the development and application of laser diagnostic techniques for accurate temperature measurements and for the determination of flamefront properties in premixed flames that can serve as input data for computational fluid dynamical (CFD) models in technical combustion. The work comprises of a number of related studies, to address problems of relevance in the field of combustion research. The first part of this work involves the development and testing of an improved method for the computation of flamefront curvature in lean premixed turbulent flames. Measurements of spatially resolved heat release rate along the flamefront were then compared with the curvature data and it could be shown that a significant correlation exists between local rate of heat release and flamefront curvature. The results here agree with predictions from CFD models and improve on previous experimental attempts to find a correlation between curvature and heat release. In the second part of this work, the focus was shifted towards the development and application of improved thermometry techniques. One study was on the improvement and application of a coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) setup to an acoustically-forced turbulent lean premixed flame stabilised on a burner, whose design was modelled to mimic phenomena of relevance in industrial combustors. In a related previous study reported in the literature two-line OH planar laser induced fluorescence had been applied to this flame and it was suspected that the results were inaccurate. Using CARS, these inaccuracies could be verified, amounting to discrepancies in temperature of up to 47% compared to the true temperatures. A major effort towards the end of this project was focused on the improvement of traditional thermometry techniques, in order to make them more accurate, faster, and spatially resolved. A technique based on indium two-line atomic fluorescence (TLAF) thermometry was developed and applied, which employed a novel extended cavity diode laser design, and it was shown for the first time that temperature measurements with high accuracy and precision could be performed in low pressure sooting flames without recourse to calibration. Both the high precision and accuracy of the technique allowed for the deduction that the temperature in the flames studied here is relatively insensitive to changes in pressure in stark contrast to the soot volume fraction. Finally, it is shown for the first time that low power diode lasers can be used in combination with indium TLAF to measure spatially and temporally highly resolved temperatures in a quasi-continuous fashion. We demonstrated such measurements at effective rates of 3.5 kHz in a steady laminar test flame yielding an unprecedented precision of 1.5 % at ~2000 K at this measurement rate.