Although hydrogen is a clean and renewable fuel, there is still a need to understand and evaluate the potential risks posed in the event of an accidental explosion. This paper presents large eddy simulation (LES) numerical analysis for lean hydrogen premixed flames propagating inside a small laboratory combustion chamber with built in solid obstructions. The small-scale chamber is 0.625 litres in volume with three removable turbulence generating baffles and a square solid obstacle. A lean equivalence ratio of 0.7 is selected in this study. The LES model is utilised to investigate the influence of obstruction configuration and area blockage ratio on the flame characteristics and the generated combustion over-pressure.
The LES turbulence technique is used with an in-house computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model for compressible flows. The numerical simulations are carried out with various arrangements of the baffle plates and a solid obstacle to examine the effects of the area blockage ratio and generated turbulence on the flame structure and generated over-pressure. Two different area blockage ratios of 0.24 and 0.5 are studied. Four configurations with different baffle arrangements are studied to examine the resulting turbulence effects on the generated over-pressure, flame position-time traces and flame transient speed following ignition. Direct comparisons are made between the different baffle/flow configurations to identify the various effects of an increased area blockage ratio. Numerical results showing the flame structure at various time windows after ignition are presented and compared with published experimental images.
High speed laser induced fluorescence (LIF-OH) images of the reaction zones obtained from the experiments at a rate of 5 kHz provide the flame position data and convey the impact of the turbulence generated by the baffles and solid obstacle on the propagating flame structure . The pressure is recorded at a rate of 25 kHz using a piezo-electric pressure transducer in the base plate of the chamber . The rise in over-pressure as a result of increased turbulence due to additional baffles and an increased area blockage ratio is found to be consistent with experimental data. This is also found to be consistent for the flame position-time and speed-time traces across all configurations. Main points of interest such as the peak over-pressure, maximum rate of pressure rise and the flame propagation trends are also observed along with variations in flame speed as the flame interacts with the baffles and obstacles.
Validation of the numerical results against available published experimental data conveys good agreement confirming the ability of the numerical model to predict numerical results for an increased area blockage ratio. Further numerical simulations are also carried out for flame/flow parameters where experimental data is unavailable due to physical limitations. Satisfactory agreement between numerical results and experimental data endorses further predictions for computational models in studying vented hydrogen explosions where there is an increased risk or limited experimental data.