Mixing of a conserved scalar in a turbulent reacting shear layer

C. Pantano, S. Sarkar, F. A. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mixing of a conserved scalar representing the mixture fraction, of primary importance in modelling non-premixed turbulent combustion, is studied by direct numerical simulation (DNS) in strongly turbulent planar shear layers both with and without heat release at a reaction sheet. For high heat release, typical of hydrocarbon combustion, the mixing is found to be substantially different than without heat release. The probability density function of the scalar and the conditional rate of scalar dissipation are affected by the heat release in such a way that the heat release substantially decreases the overall reaction rate. To help clarify implications of the assumptions underlying popular models for interaction between turbulence and chemistry, the local structure of the scalar dissipation rate at the reaction sheet is extracted from the DNS database. The applicability of flamelet models for the rate of scalar dissipation is examined. To assist in modelling, a characteristics length scale is defined, representing the distance around the reaction sheet over which the scalar field is locally linear, and statistical properties of this length scale are investigated. This length scale can be used in studying values of the rate of scalar dissipation that mark the boundary between flames that feel a constant scalar dissipation field and those that do not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-328
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Apr 25 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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