The slowly reacting mode of combustion of gaseous mixtures in spherical vessels. Part 2: buoyancy-induced motion and its e ect on the explosion limits Articles uri icon

publication date

  • December 2016

start page

  • 1029

end page

  • 1045


  • 6


  • 20

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1364-7830

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1741-3559


  • This paper investigates the effect of buoyancy-driven motion on the quasi-steady ‘slowly
    reacting" mode of combustion and on its thermal-explosion limits, for gaseous mixtures enclosed in a spherical vessel with a constant wall temperature. Following FrankKamenetskii"s seminal analysis of this problem, the strong temperature dependence of
    the effective overall reaction rate is taken into account by using a single-reaction model
    with an Arrhenius rate having a large activation energy, resulting in a critical value of
    the vessel radius above which the slowly reacting mode of combustion no longer exists.
    In his contant-density, convection-free analysis, the critical conditions were found to
    depend on the value of a Damkohler number, defined as the ratio of the time for the ¨
    heat released by the reaction to be conducted to the wall, to the homogeneous explosion
    time evaluated at the wall temperature. For gaseous mixtures under normal gravity, the
    critical Damkohler number increases through the effect of buoyancy-induced motion ¨
    on the rate of heat conduction to the wall, measured by an appropriate Rayleigh number Ra. In the present analysis, for small values of Ra, the temperature is given in the
    first approximation by the spherically symmetric Frank-Kamenetskii solution, used to
    calculate the accompanying gas motion, an axisymmetric annular vortex determined at
    leading order by the balance between viscous and buoyancy forces, which we call the
    Frank-Kamenetskii vortex. This flow is used in the equation for conservation of energy
    to evaluate the influence of convection on explosion limits for small Ra, resulting in
    predicted critical Damkohler numbers that are accurate up to values of Ra on the order ¨
    of a few hundred.


  • Mechanical Engineering


  • thermal explosion; laminar reacting flows; buoyancy-induced flow; thermal-explosion; natural-convection; stability