Large eddy simulation of supersonic combustion with application to scramjet engines

Cocks, Peter (2011-07-12)


This work evaluates the capabilities of the RANS and LES techniques for the simulation of high speed reacting flows. These methods are used to gain further insight into the physics encountered and regimes present in supersonic combustion. The target application of this research is the scramjet engine, a propulsion system of great promise for efficient hypersonic flight. In order to conduct this work a new highly parallelised code, PULSAR, is developed. PULSAR is capable of simulating complex chemistry combustion in highly compressible flows, based on a second order upwind method to provide a monotonic solution in the presence of high gradient physics. Through the simulation of a non-reacting supersonic coaxial helium jet the RANS method is shown to be sensitive to constants involved in the modelling process. The LES technique is more computationally demanding but is shown to be much less sensitive to these model parameters. Nevertheless, LES results are shown to be sensitive to the nature of turbulence at the inflow; however this information can be experimentally obtained. The SCHOLAR test case is used to validate the reacting aspects of PULSAR. Comparing RANS results from laminar chemistry and assumed PDF combustion model simulations, the influence of turbulence-chemistry interactions in supersonic combustion is shown to be small. In the presence of reactions, the RANS results are sensitive to inflow turbulence, due to its influence on mixing. From complex chemistry simulations the combustion behaviour is evaluated to sit between the flamelet and distributed reaction regimes. LES results allow an evaluation of the physics involved, with a pair of coherent vortices identified as the dominant influence on mixing for the oblique wall fuel injection method. It is shown that inflow turbulence has a significant impact on the behaviour of these vortices and hence it is vital for turbulence intensities and length scales to be measured by experimentalists, in order for accurate simulations to be possible.