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Bubble CombustionA method of energy production that is capable of low pollutant emissions is fundamental to one of the four pillars of NASA s Aeronautics Blueprint: Revolutionary Vehicles. Bubble combustion, a new engine technology currently being developed at Glenn Research Center promises to provide low emissions combustion in support of NASA s vision under the Emissions Element because it generates power, while minimizing the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxides (NOx), both known to be Greenhouse gases. and allows the use of alternative fuels such as corn oil, low-grade fuels, and even used motor oil. Bubble combustion is analogous to the inverse of spray combustion: the difference between bubble and spray combustion is that spray combustion is spraying a liquid in to a gas to form droplets, whereas bubble combustion involves injecting a gas into a liquid to form gaseous bubbles. In bubble combustion, the process for the ignition of the bubbles takes place on a time scale of less than a nanosecond and begins with acoustic waves perturbing each bubble. This perturbation causes the local pressure to drop below the vapor pressure of the liquid thus producing cavitation in which the bubble diameter grows, and upon reversal of the oscillating pressure field, the bubble then collapses rapidly with the aid of the high surface tension forces acting on the wall of the bubble. The rapid and violent collapse causes the temperatures inside the bubbles to soar as a result of adiabatic heating. As the temperatures rise, the gaseous contents of the bubble ignite with the bubble itself serving as its own combustion chamber. After ignition, this is the time in the bubble s life cycle where power is generated, and CO2, and NOx among other species, are produced. However, the pollutants CO2 and NOx are absorbed into the surrounding liquid. The importance of bubble combustion is that it generates power using a simple and compact device. We conducted a parametric study using CAVCHEM, a computational model developed at Glenn, that simulates the cavitational collapse of a single bubble in a liquid (water) and the subsequent combustion of the gaseous contents inside the bubble. The model solves the time-dependent, compressible Navier-Stokes equations in one-dimension with finite-rate chemical kinetics using the CHEMKIN package. Specifically, parameters such as frequency, pressure, bubble radius, and the equivalence ratio were varied while examining their effect on the maximum temperature, radius, and chemical species. These studies indicate that the radius of the bubble is perhaps the most critical parameter governing bubble combustion dynamics and its efficiency. Based on the results of the parametric studies, we plan on conducting experiments to study the effect of ultrasonic perturbations on the bubble generation process with respect to the bubble radius and size distribution.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Corrigan, Jackie (Dayton Univ. OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium II
Subject Category
Aircraft Propulsion and Power
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20050186580Analytic PrimaryResearch Symposium II