Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Heat release rate correlation and combustion noise in premixed flames


a1 Department of Engineering, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK

a2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, London WC1E 7JE, UK


The sound emission from open turbulent flames is dictated by the two-point spatial correlation of the rate of change of the fluctuating heat release rate. This correlation in premixed flames can be represented well using Gaussian-type functions and unstrained laminar flame thermal thickness can be used to scale the correlation length scale, which is about a quarter of the planar laminar flame thermal thickness. This correlation and its length scale are observed to be less influenced by the fuel type or stoichiometry or turbulence Reynolds and Damkohler numbers. The time scale for fluctuating heat release rate is deduced to be about τc/34 on an average, where τc is the planar laminar flame time scale, using direct numerical simulation (DNS) data. These results and the spatial distribution of mean reaction rate obtained from Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) calculations of open turbulent premixed flames employing the standard model and an algebraic reaction rate closure, involving a recently developed scalar dissipation rate model, are used to obtain the far-field sound pressure level from open flames. The calculated values agree well with measured values for flames of different stoichiometry and fuel types, having a range of turbulence intensities and heat output. Detailed analyses of RANS results clearly suggest that the noise level from turbulent premixed flames having an extensive and uniform spatial distribution of heat release rate is low.

(Received March 11 2010)

(Revised April 14 2011)

(Accepted May 16 2011)

(Online publication June 29 2011)

Key words:

  • acoustics;
  • reacting flows;
  • turbulent reacting flows


c1 Email address for correspondence:


‡ On sabbatical leave from the Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, China.