Design Optimization and Combustion Simulation of Two Gaseous and Liquid-Fired Combustors
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The growing effect of combustion pollutant emission on the environment and increasing petroleum prices are driving development of design methodologies for clean and efficient industrial combustion technologies. The design optimization methodology employs numerical algorithms to find the optimal solution of a design problem by converting it into a multivariate minimization problem. This is done by defining a vector of design parameters that specifies the design configuration, and an objective function that quantifies the performance of the design, usually so the optimal design outcome minimizes the objective function. A numerical algorithm is then employed to find the design parameters that minimize the objective function; these parameters thus specify the optimal design. However this technique is used in several other fields of research, its application to industrial combustion is fairly new. In the present study, a statistical optimization method called response surface methodology is connected to a CFD solver to find the highest combustion efficiency by changing the inlet air swirl number and burner quarl angle in a furnace. OpenFOAM is used to model the steady-state combustion of natural gas in the 300 KW BERL combustor. The main barrier to applying optimization in the design of industrial combustion equipment is the substantial computational effort needed to carry out the CFD simulation every time the objective function needs to be evaluated. This is intensified by the stiffness of the coupled governing partial differential equations, which can cause instability and divergent simulations. The present study addresses both of these issues by initializing the flow field for each objective function evaluation with the numerical results of the previously converged point. This modification dramatically reduced computation time. The combustion of diesel spray in the GenTex 50M process heater is investigated in the next part of this thesis. Experimental and numerical studies were carried out for both the cold spray and the diesel combustion where the numerical results satisfactorily predicted the observations. The simulation results show that, when carrying out a parametric design of a liquid fuel-fired combustor it is necessary to consider the effect of design parameters on the spray aerodynamic characteristics and size distribution, the air/spray interactions, and the size of the recirculation zones.