The modelling of soot formation and oxidation under industrially relevant conditions has made significant progress in recent years. Simplified models introducing a small number of transport equations into a CFD code have been used with some success in research configurations simulating a reciprocating diesel engine.

Soot formation and oxidation in the turbulent flow is calculated on the basis of a laminar flamelet library model. The gas phase reactions are modelled with a detailed mechanism for the combustion of heptane containing 89 species and 855 reactions developed by Frenklach and Warnatz and revised by Mauss. The soot model is divided into gas phase reactions, the growth of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and the processes of particle inception, heterogeneous surface growth, oxidation and condensation. The first two are modelled within the laminar flamelet chemistry, while the soot model deals with the soot particle processes.

The time scales of soot formation are assumed to be much larger than the turbulent time scales. Therefore rates of soot formation are tabulated in the flamelet libraries rather than the soot volume fraction itself. The different rates of soot formation, e.g. particle inception, surface growth, fragmentation and oxidation, computed on the basis of a detailed soot model, are calculated in the mixture fraction / scalar dissipation rate space and further simplified by fitting them to simple analytical functions. A transport equation for the mean soot mass fraction is solved in the CFD-code. The mean rate in this transport equation is closed with the help of presumed probability density functions for the mixture fraction and the scalar dissipation rate. Heat loss due to radiation can be taken into account by including a heat loss parameter in the flamelet calculations describing the change of enthalpy due to radiation, but was not used for the results reported here.

The soot model was integrated into an existing commercial CFD code as a post-processing module to existing combustion CFD flow fields and is very robust with high convergence rates. The model is validated with laboratory flame data and using a realistic 3-D BMW Rolls-Royce combustor configuration, where test data at high pressure are available. Good agreement between experiment and simulation is achieved for laboratory flames, whereas soot is overpredicted for the aeroengine combustor configuration by 1–2 orders of magnitude.

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