Flow, Turbulence and Combustion

, Volume 102, Issue 2, pp 279–298 | Cite as

Experimental Investigation of Ignition Stability in a Cyclic Constant-Volume Combustion Chamber Featuring Relevant Conditions for Air-Breathing Propulsion

  • Quentin MichalskiEmail author
  • Bastien Boust
  • Marc Bellenoue


Pressure-gain combustion concepts are developed around the world as solutions to reach the ambitious target of the ultra-efficient aircraft road map for 2050 that requires a 20% reduction of specific fuel consumption of the engine. This reduction can be obtained by increasing the thermodynamic efficiency. Several patterned designs apply the Humphrey deflagration-based constant-volume combustion (CVC) to parallel piston-less combustors. Recently, a proof of concept constant-volume combustor was operated in representative aircraft combustor conditions. This study evidenced reliable operating regimes, but also critical design issues related to some of the most challenging combustion fields: ignition stability, flame propagation in non-perfectly-premixed conditions and trapped residual gases, as well as cycle hysteresis. A lab-scale facility (CV2) was designed to study and further improve our understanding of such CVC phenomena. The facility features the cyclic operation of constant-volume combustion, independently of a specific technology of intake and exhaust systems, at representative aircraft combustor conditions over more than 10 cycles. The results presented in the paper concern the investigation of CVC stability with a variation of the spark-ignition phasing, in direct injection of gaseous propane. The cyclic stable and unstable operating conditions have been characterized successfully by means of time-resolved PIV, pressure evolution measurements, as well as chemiluminescence visualization. A strong correlation between ignition probability and the cumulative probability density function of the local velocity is evidenced.


Constant-volume combustion Cyclic combustion Direct injection Ignition 



Constant-Volume Combustion Chamber


Chair on Alternative Combustion mode for Air-Breathing Propulsion


Propane-air mixture stoichiometric dilution in mass


Equivalence Ratio


Large Eddy Simulation


Molar mass

nx, ny

Number of vectors along the two dimensions of the velocity field


Overall Equivalence Ratio


Specific kinetic energy content of the 2D velocity field


Specific kinetic energy content of the 2D turbulent fluctuation field


Time from the ignition to 10% of the maximum combustion pressure


Time from 10% to 90% of the maximum combustion pressure


Time-Resolved Particle-Image Velocimetry


Velocity vector field

u1, u2

Velocity components


Turbulent fluctuation vector field

u1, u2

Turbulent fluctuation components


Low spatial frequency components of the velocity fluctuation field


High spatial frequency components of the velocity fluctuation field


Tank volume


Statistical limit velocity


Aspect ratio of the combustion chamber

t × f

Time normalized by the cycle frequency

γa, γf

Ratio of heat capacity


Pressure variation measured in a tank


Time scale for the temporal averaging of the velocity fields



This work is part of the CAPA Chair, a research program on Alternative Combustion Mode for Air-breathing Propulsion supported by SAFRAN Tech, MBDA France and ANR (National Research Agency).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Quentin MICHALSKI has received grants research from the CAPA Chair (a joint research program between SAFRAN, MBDA and ANR). The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Pprime, CNRS, ISAE-ENSMAUniversité de PoitiersFuturoscope ChasseneuilFrance

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