Based on the previous benchmark studies on combustion, scalar transfer and radiation models, a critical evaluation of turbulence models in a propane-air diffusion flame combustor with interior and exterior conjugate heat transfers has been performed. Results obtained from six turbulence models are presented and compared in detail with a comprehensive database obtained from a series of experimental measurements. It is found that the Reynolds stress model (RSM), a second moment closure, is superior over the five popular eddy-viscosity two-equation models. Although the main flow patterns are captured by all six turbulence models, only the RSM is able to successfully predict the lengths of both recirculation zones and give fairly accurate predictions for mean velocity, temperature, CO2 and CO mole fractions, as well as turbulence kinetic energy in the combustor chamber. In addition, the realizable k-ε (Rk-ε) model illustrates better performance than four other two-equation models and can provide comparable results to those from the RSM for the configuration and operating conditions considered in the present study.

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