Optical diagnostics and computational modeling of reacting and non-reacting single and multiphase flows

Date of Completion

January 2007


Engineering, Mechanical|Engineering, Materials Science




Three critical problem domains namely water transport in PEM fuel cell, interaction of vortices with diffusion flames and laminar diffusion layers and thermo-physical processes in droplets heated by a plasma or monochromatic radiation have been analyzed in this dissertation. ^ The first part of the dissertation exhibits a unique, in situ, line-of-sight measurements of water vapor partial pressure and temperature in single and multiple gas channels on the cathode side of an operating PEM fuel cell. Tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy was employed for these measurements for which water transitions sensitive to temperature and partial pressure were utilized. The technique was demonstrated in a PEM fuel cell operating under both steady state and time-varying load conditions. ^ The second part of the dissertation is dedicated to the study of vortex interaction with laminar diffusion flame and non-reacting diffusion layers. For the non-reacting case, a detailed computational study of scalar mixing in a laminar vortex is presented for vortices generated between two gas streams. A detailed parametric study was conducted to determine the effects of vortex strength, convection time, and non-uniform temperature on scalar mixing characteristics. For the reacting case, an experimental study of the interaction of a planar diffusion flame with a line vortex is presented. The flame-vortex interactions are diagnosed by laser induced incandescence for soot yield and by particle image velocimetry for vortex flow characterization. The soot topography was studied as a function of the vortex strength, residence time, flame curvature and the reactant streams from which vortices are initiated. The third part of the dissertation is modeling of thermo-physical processes in liquid ceramic precursor droplets injected into plasma as used in the thermal spray industry to generate thermal barrier coatings on high value materials. Models include aerodynamic droplet break-up process, mixing of droplets in the high temperature plasma, heat and mass transfer within individual droplets as well as droplet precipitation and internal pressurization. The last part of the work is also concerned with the modeling of thermo-physical processes in liquid ceramic precursor droplets heated by monochromatic radiation. Purpose of this work was to evaluate the feasibility of studying precipitation kinetics and morphological changes in a droplet by mimicking similar heating rates as the plasma. ^