Flashback is the main operability issue associated with converting lean, premixed combustion systems from operation on natural gas to operation on high hydrogen content fuels. Most syngas fuels contain some amount of hydrogen (15–100%) depending on the fuel processing scheme. With this variability in the composition of syngas, the question of how fuel composition impacts flashback propensity arises. To address this question, a jet burner configuration was used to develop systematic data for a wide range of compositions under turbulent flow conditions. The burner consisted of a quartz burner tube confined by a larger quartz tube. The use of quartz allowed visualization of the flashback processes occurring. Various fuel compositions of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and natural gas were premixed with air at equivalence ratios corresponding to constant adiabatic flame temperatures (AFT) of 1700 K and 1900 K. Once a flame was stabilized on the burner, the air flow rate would be gradually reduced while holding the AFT constant via the equivalence ratio until flashback occurred. Schlieren and intensified OH* images captured at high speeds during flashback allowed some additional understanding of what is occurring during the highly dynamic process of flashback. Confined and unconfined flashback data were analyzed by comparing data collected in the present study with existing data in the literature. A statistically designed test matrix was used which allows analysis of variance of the results to be carried out, leading to correlation between fuel composition and flame temperature with (1) critical flashback velocity gradient and (2) burner tip temperature. Using the burner tip temperature as the unburned temperature in the laminar flame speed calculations showed increased correlation of the flashback data and laminar flame speed as opposed to when the actual unburned gas temperature was used.

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