Linear and weakly nonlinear instability of a premixed curved flame under the influence of its spontaneous acoustic field

Raphael Assier, Xuesong Wu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The stability of premixed flames in a duct is investigated using an asymptotic formulation, which is derived from first principles and based on high-activation-energy and low-Mach-number assumptions (Wu et al., J. Fluid Mech., vol. 497, 2003, pp. 23–53). The present approach takes into account the dynamic coupling between the flame and its spontaneous acoustic field, as well as the interactions between the hydrodynamic field and the flame. The focus is on the fundamental mechanisms of combustion instability. To this end, a linear stability analysis of some steady curved flames is undertaken. These steady flames are known to be stable when the spontaneous acoustic perturbations are ignored. However, we demonstrate that they are actually unstable when the latter effect is included. In order to corroborate this result, and also to provide a relatively simple model guiding active control, we derived an extended Michelson–Sivashinsky equation, which governs the linear and weakly nonlinear evolution of a perturbed flame under the influence of its spontaneous sound. Numerical solutions to the initial-value problem confirm the linear instability result, and show how the flame evolves nonlinearly with time. They also indicate that in certain parameter regimes the spontaneous sound can induce a strong secondary subharmonic parametric instability. This behaviour is explained and justified mathematically by resorting to Floquet theory. Finally we compare our theoretical results with experimental observations, showing that our model captures some of the observed behaviour of propagating flames.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)180-220
    Number of pages40
    JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
    Early online date7 Oct 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


    • acoustics; combustion; instability


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