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The Role of the Argon and Helium Bath Gases on the Detonation Structure of H2/)2 Mixture


Recent modeling efforts of non-equilibrium effects in detonations have suggested that hydrogen-based detonations may be affected by vibrational non-equilibrium of the hydrogen and oxygen molecules effects which could explain discrepancies of cell sizes measured experimentally and calculated without relaxation effects. The present study addresses the role of vibrational relaxation in 2H2/O2 detonations by considering two-bath gases, argon and helium. These two gases have the same thermodynamic and kinetic effects when relaxation is neglected. However, due to the bath gases differences in molecular weight and reduced mass differences which affect the molecular collisions, relaxation rates can be changed by approximately 50-70%. Experiments were performed in a narrow channel in mixtures of 2H2/O2/7Ar and 2H2/O2/7He to evaluate the role of the bath gas on detonation cellular structures. The experiments showed differences in velocity deficits and cell sizes for experimental conditions keeping the induction zone length constant in each of the mixtures. These differences were negligible in sensitive mixtures but increased with the increase in velocity deficits while the cell sizes approaching the channel dimensions. Near the limits, differences of cell size in two mixtures approached a factor of 2. These differences were however reconciled by accounting for the viscous losses to the tube walls, evaluated using a modified version of Mirels' laminar boundary layer theory and generalized Chapman-Jouguet theory for eigenvalue detonations. The experiments suggest that there is an influence of relaxation effects on the cellular structure of detonations, which is more sensitive to wall boundary conditions. However, the previous works showed that the impact of vibrational non-equilibrium in a mixture of H2/Air is more visible due to the effects of N2 in the air, slowest to relax. Previous discrepancies suggested to be indicative of relaxation effects should be reevaluated by the inclusion of wall loss effects.

Keywords: Combustion ; Detonation
Related subjects: Safety

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