Differential diffusion effects in premixed combustion are studied in a counter-flow flame experiment for fuel-lean flames of three fuels with different Lewis numbers: methane, propane, and hydrogen. Previous studies of stretched laminar flames show that a maximum reference flame speed is observed for mixtures with Le ≳ 1 at lower flame-stretch values than at extinction, while the reference flame speed for Le ≪ 1 increases until extinction occurs when the flame is constrained by the stagnation point. In this work, counter-flow flame experiments are performed for these same mixtures, building upon the laminar results by using variable high-blockage turbulence-generating plates to generate turbulence intensities from the near-laminar to the maximum achievable for each mixture, on the order of . Local, instantaneous reference flamelet speeds within the turbulent flame are extracted from high-speed PIV measurements. Instantaneous flame front positions are measured by Rayleigh scattering. The probability-density functions (PDFs) of instantaneous reference flamelet speeds for the Le ≳ 1 mixtures illustrate that the flamelet speeds are increasing with increasing turbulence intensity. However, at the highest turbulence intensities measured in these experiments, the probability seems to drop off at a velocity that matches experimentally-measured maximum reference flame speeds in previous work. In contrast, in the Le ≪ 1 turbulent flames, the most-probable instantaneous reference flamelet speed increases with increasing turbulence intensity and can, significantly, exceed the maximum reference flame speed measured in counter-flow laminar flames at extinction, with the PDF remaining near symmetric for the highest turbulence intensities.
These results are reinforced by instantaneous flame position measurements. Flame-front location PDFs show the most probable flame location is linked both to the bulk flow velocity and to the instantaneous velocity PDFs. Furthermore, hydrogen flame-location PDFs are recognizably skewed upstream as increases, indicating a tendency for the Le ≪ 1 flame brush to propagate farther into the unburned reactants against a steepening average velocity gradient.