A unified model of flames as gasdynamic discontinuities

Andreas G. Class*, B. J. Matkowsky, A. Y. Klimenko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Viewed on a hydrodynamic scale, flames in experiments are often thin so that they may be described as gasdynamic discontinuities separating the dense cold fresh mixture from the light hot burned products. The original model of a flame as a gasdynamic discontinuity was due to Darrieus and to Landau. In addition to the fluid dynamical equations, the model consists of a flame speed relation describing the evolution of the discontinuity surface, and jump conditions across the surface which relate the fluid variables on the two sides of the surface. The Darrieus-Landau model predicts, in contrast to observations, that a uniformly propagating planar flame is absolutely unstable and that the strength of the instability grows with increasing perturbation wavenumber so that there is no high-wavenumber cutoff of the instability. The model was modified by Markstein to exhibit a high-wavenumber cutoff if a phenomenological constant in the model has an appropriate sign. Both models are postulated, rather than derived from first principles, and both ignore the flame structure, which depends on chemical kinetics and transport processes within the flame. At present, there are two models which have been derived, rather than postulated, and which are valid in two non-overlapping regions of parameter space. Sivashinsky derived a generalization of the Darrieus-Landau model which is valid for Lewis numbers (ratio of thermal diffusivity to mass diffusivity of the deficient reaction component) bounded away from unity. Matalon & Matkowsky derived a model valid for Lewis numbers close to unity. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages. Under appropriate conditions the Matalon-Matkowsky model exhibits a high-wavenumber cutoff of the Darrieus-Landau instability. However, since the Lewis numbers considered lie too close to unity, the Matalon-Matkowsky model does not capture the pulsating instability. The Sivashinsky model does capture the pulsating instability, but does not exhibit its high-wavenumber cutoff. In this paper, we derive a model consisting of a new flame speed relation and new jump conditions, which is valid for arbitrary Lewis numbers. It captures the pulsating instability and exhibits the high-wavenumber cutoff of all instabilities. The flame speed relation includes the effect of short wavelengths, not previously considered, which leads to stabilizing transverse surface diffusion terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-49
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of fluid Mechanics
Issue number491
StatePublished - Sep 25 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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