Kindling for bright sparks

Combustion Theory and Modelling
May 21, 1999

If you are involved with combustion research, then there is a new journal to add to your reading. Combustion Theory and Modelling tries to further the scientific aspects of combustion, particularly in the realm of fundamental theory.

As the title suggests, there is an emphasis on theory. Where experimental studies are published, they are closely related to theoretical issues by highlighting fundamental theoretical questions or by providing a sound basis for comparison with theory.

The journal is a welcome addition to the range of journals devoted to combustion. It covers the application of mathematics, modelling, numerical simulation and experimental techniques to the study of combustion. Topics covered include premixed laminar flames, laminar diffusion flames, turbulent combustion, fires, chemical kinetics, pollutant formation, microgravity, materials synthesis, catalysis, droplet and spray combustion, detonation dynamics, thermal explosions, ignition, energetic materials and propellants, burners and engine combustion. A wide range of mathematical methods is reported, from large-scale numerical simulation, to singular perturbation theory and statistical methods. Rigorous mathematical proofs for combustion-specific problems are presented where necessary.

The journal is available in print form and via the Institute of Physics website. Featured articles may be downloaded in full text form from the website, free of charge. One particularly interesting addition is the use of multimedia animations of the data contained in some papers, which again can be downloaded.

Two papers illustrate how the journal looks at combustion physics and numerical schemes. B. Denet presents a paper entitled "Are small scales of turbulence able to wrinkle a premixed flame at large scale?", which attempts to establish which parameters (such as those that control the amplitude of turbulence, flame velocity and flame curvature) can be normalised. His model shows that small scales of turbulence do participate in flame wrinkling at large scale, although he accepts that it remains to be seen whether these effects can be observed in cases with realistic turbulence statistics.

Those involved with three-dimensional modelling of realistic combustion fields know that many physical quantities change by more than an order of magnitude in an extremely thin flame front, while elsewhere they remain relatively constant. M. D. Smooke and B. A. V. Bennett address this by presenting a solution-adaptive gridding method that produces robust unstructured rectangular grids that use novel multiple-scale, finite-difference discretisation incorporating a modified Newton scheme for the solution of elliptic partial differential equations. They consider a laminar, premixed, Bunsen-type flame and also a laminar diffusion flame with full chemistry. The results show that, in general, the method halves the number of grid points required for the solution and hence halves the memory and computation time compared with conventional grids.

Some readers may find the style and content of many of the papers rather esoteric and inaccessible. Others, however, will be attracted to the way in which problems are discussed, and often given solutions with wider applicability. Those working purely experimentally with combustion will find some of the papers helpful in providing the principles on which to interpret their data and in some cases to help stimulate further empirical work.

The likely readership will be scientists, mathematicians and engineers who are working on the latest theories of combustion as well as those wishing to apply the theory to their specific problems. I recommend that technical libraries providing technical literature for these researchers should add this journal to their present collection.

Colin Garner is reader in mechanical engineering, Loughborough University.

Combustion Theory and Modelling: four times a year

Editor - Bill Dold and Mitch Smooke
ISBN - ISSN 1364 7830
Publisher - Institute of Physics Publishing
Price - £32.00 per issue
Pages - -

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