Congratulations to Dr. James Driscoll for receiving the AIAA Best Paper Award from the Propellants and Combustion Technical Committee for his publication, “Experimental Assessment of Premixed Flames Subjected to Extreme Turbulence.”
Dr. Driscoll’s research aims to lower pollutant emissions produced by fuel-air combustion. He explains:
“The work addresses ways to improve the fuel-air combustion within modern turbofan engines. The goal is to improve fuel-air mixing and the uniformity of the chemical reactions, while suppressing the reactions that create nitric oxides, carbon monoxide and soot. [Such uniform combustion] leads to lower pollutant emissions and a longer engine lifetime.”
Dr. Driscoll’s research was facilitated by a unique Michigan diagnostic tool, laser induced fluorescence. He notes:
“Our unique Michigan laser diagnostics make it possible to transmit an ultraviolet laser sheet through the combustion region in order to record high speed video images of where the fuel is located and where the chemical reactions are taking place… this allows us to identify the physical processes by which turbulent eddies rotate the fluid to improve mixing. Our images indicate which type of computational model is the most realistic, so we collaborate with modelers who develop design models that optimize future engine designs.”
Through this research, Dr. Driscoll and his team developed the first measured regime diagram of turbulent combustion. They found:
“The regime diagram shows what model is best for different conditions. It also indicates that some models are not very realistic and should be replaced by the realistic models. [For example], this diagram indicates that certain levels of turbulence cause thin, wrinkled flames. [In contrast], larger turbulence levels are better modeled as broadened, thickened flames.”
Dr. Driscoll would like to acknowledge his fellow co-authors, who performed the experimental work: Dr. Aaron Skiba, Dr. Tim Wabel and Dr. Jacob Temme.