Coflow filtration combustion waves

Alvin Bayliss, Evgeny Shafirovich, Vladimir A. Volpert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, it has been proposed to develop space power systems based on filtration combustion of metal powders with oxygen supplied by a chemical oxygen generator. The experiments with lithium and magnesium powders at natural infiltration of oxygen have shown propagation of both counterflow and coflow combustion waves. However, natural filtration combustion of metal powders at relatively low pressures is not sufficiently understood. In the present paper, we investigate the natural coflow combustion waves propagating through a porous medium. The porous matrix is made of metal particles that react with oxygen flowing from the open end of the sample to the reaction zone where it is consumed forming a condensed product which also has a porous structure. The gas flow is due to the pressure difference between the pressure at the open end and that in the reaction zone (the so-called natural filtration). The open end is where the sample is ignited, so that the gas flows through the reaction products, i.e. in the same direction as the combustion wave propagates (coflow filtration). Our mathematical model involves the conservation of energy equation and gas mass, solid reactant mass, and gas momentum balances, as well as an equation of state, and appropriate boundary and initial conditions. It is studied analytically under the combustion front approximation. When the reaction zone is close to the open end, there is sufficient amount of oxygen in the reaction zone and the reaction is controlled by kinetic factors (the kinetic regime of propagation). As the reaction moves away from the open end, it is gas supply that becomes a limiting factor (filtration regime). Both kinetic and filtration regimes of propagation as well the transition between them are analytically studied in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-868
Number of pages16
JournalCombustion Theory and Modelling
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023


  • coflow
  • filtration combustion
  • metal burning
  • natural filtration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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