Detonation onset in a thermally stratified constant volume reactor

Aliou Sow, Bok Jik Lee, Francisco E. Hernández Pérez, Hong G. Im*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Understanding detonation development from a flame kernel initiated by a pre-ignition event is important for modern internal combustion (IC) engines operating at boosted conditions. To provide fundamental insights into the effects of bulk gas temperature stratification on the characteristics of detonation development, one-dimensional high fidelity simulations were conducted for a constant volume reactor filled with a thermally stratified reactive stoichiometric hydrogen/air mixture. A linear temperature variation in the upstream end-gas was introduced to represent the thermal stratification of the bulk mixture, and the evolution from the initial deflagration flame front to detonation development was examined. The results showed that the bulk-gas temperature gradient has a significant effect on the run-up time and intensity of the developing detonation. Detailed analyses further revealed that the mechanism of detonation development is qualitatively different for the positive and negative temperature gradient cases. In the former, the detonation development is initiated by the end-gas autoignition at the wall, while the latter exhibits detonation development following the process of the self-acceleration of the flame similar to the deflagration-to-detonation transition. This behavior is attributed to the longer residence time in the end-gas allowing the reinforcement by the interaction of incident and reflected pressure waves during the flame propagation, and results in the peak pressure even higher than the case with the same level of positive temperature gradient. Furthermore, yet another detonation development pattern was observed for the negative temperature gradient condition in the presence of a uniform temperature region just ahead of the flame. In this case, autoignition was found to start in the middle of the bulk end-gas, and subsequently leads to the transition to detonation. The results demonstrate the importance of the bulk gas conditions in predicting the detonation development, which corroborate the existing theoretical framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3529-3536
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Autoignition
  • Detonation
  • Ignition regimes
  • Pre-ignition
  • Thermal stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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