On scaling and mathematical modelling of large scale industrial flames
Gaseous flames and pulverized coal flames are considered to examine relationships between lab-scale flames, semi-industrial scale and industrial-scale flames. The experimental data spans the thermal input range from the lowest scale of 30 kW to the largest of 12 MW with several intermediate scales. The primary questions are whether effects observed in lab-scale flames are scalable to industrial applications and whether mathematical models developed on the basis of lab-scale data are directly applicable to industrial flames. It has been observed that disparity between the in-flame temperatures measured in lab-scale and in large-scale flames can be as large as 100–200 K due to different measurement techniques used. In lab-scale experiments one observes a strong interaction between turbulence and chemistry and the measured data is sensitive to small alterations to burner inputs and/or boundary conditions. The sensitivity almost disappears at large-scales since the convective mixings is the dominant (the slowest) mechanism. In other words, different effects are seen at small- and large-scales and different mechanisms are controlling. Although the paper is concerned with single flames, in our opinion, the conclusions are also relevant to gas turbines. Until genuine efforts are taken to develop a good understanding of combustion system scaling, the worlds of combustion science and combustion engineering will remain parted.