Large eddy simulation of n-heptane spray flames is conducted to investigate the multiple-stage ignition process under extreme (low-temperature, low oxygen, and high-temperature, high-density) conditions. At low oxygen concentrations, the first-stage ignition initiates in the fuel-rich region and then moves to stoichiometric equivalence ratio regions by decreasing the initial temperature. It is also clear that at high temperatures, high oxygen concentrations, or high densities, the reactivity of the mixture is enhanced, where high values of progress variable are observed. Analysis of key intermediate species, including acetylene (C2H2), formaldehyde (CH2O), and hydroxyl (OH) in the mixture fraction and temperature space provides valuable insights into the complex combustion process of the n-heptane spray flames under different initial conditions. The results also suggest that C2H2 appears over a wider range in the mixture fraction space at higher temperature or oxygen concentration condition, implying that it mainly forms at the fuel-rich regions. The initial oxygen concentration of the ambient gas has great influence on the formation and oxidization of C2H2, and the maximum temperature depends on the initial oxygen concentration. OH is mainly formed at the stoichiometric equivalence ratio region, which moves to high-temperature regions very quickly especially at higher oxygen concentrations. Finally, analysis of the premixed and nonpremixed combustion regimes in n-heptane spray flames is also conducted, and both premixed and nonpremixed combustion coexist in spray flames.

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