National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Date of this Version



Combustion and Flame 158 (2011) 255–272; doi:10.1016/j.combustflame.2010.08.015


This analysis addresses the propagation of spiral edge flames found in von Kármán swirling flows induced in rotating porous-disk burners. In this configuration, a porous disk is spun at a constant angular velocity in an otherwise quiescent oxidizing atmosphere. Gaseous methane is injected through the disk pores and burns in a flat diffusion flame adjacent to the disk. Among other flame patterns experimentally found, a stable, rotating spiral flame is observed for sufficiently large rotation velocities and small fuel flow rates as a result of partial extinction of the underlying diffusion flame. The tip of the spiral can undergo a steady rotation for sufficiently large rotational velocities or small fuel flow rates, whereas a meandering tip in an epicycloidal trajectory is observed for smaller rotational velocities and larger fuel flow rates. A formulation of this problem is presented in the equidiffusional and thermodiffusive limits within the framework of one-step chemistry with large activation energies. Edge-flame propagation regimes are obtained by scaling analyses of the conservation equations and exemplified by numerical simulations of straight two-dimensional edge flames near a cold porous wall, for which lateral heat losses to the disk and large strains induce extinction of the trailing diffusion flame but are relatively unimportant in the front region, consistent with the existence of the cooling tail found in the experiments. The propagation dynamics of a steadily rotating spiral edge is studied in the large-core limit, for which the characteristic Markstein length is much smaller than the distance from the center at which the spiral tip is anchored. An asymptotic description of the edge tangential structure is obtained, spiral edge shapes are calculated, and an expression is found that relates the spiral rotational velocity to the rest of the parameters. A quasiestatic stability analysis of the edge shows that the edge curvature at extinction in the tip region is responsible for the stable tip anchoring at the core radius. Finally, experimental results are analyzed, and theoretical predictions are tested.