Carrier-phase DNS of iron particle ignition and combustion in turbulent flow

This project aims to improve our fundamental understanding of iron particle cloud ignition and burning in turbulent flow by means of detailed direct numerical simulations.

A promising technology for future energy conversion and storage systems is the oxidation of iron to various types of iron oxides. Due to its high energy density and abundance in conjunction with its excellent storage and transportation properties iron has a high potential to serve as a carbon-free energy carrier. When suitably combining iron oxidation with the reverse process of iron oxide reduction based on renewable energy sources, a sustainable circular zero-carbon energy economy can be developed. The development of iron combustion technologies for industrial systems is still at an early stage which drives significant research efforts to better understand the underlying fundamental chemical and physical processes. Similar to the combustion of coal and biomass, the ignition and combustion of iron particles is strongly dependent on the heat and mass transfer phenomena between particles and gas, specific particle properties, gas phase conditions and particle loading. However, due to its non-volatile combustion property iron combustion is significantly different from coal/biomass conversion such that existing modelling strategies for the latter cannot be used without further fundamental analyses and adaptations.

In the present sub-project, carrier-phase direct numerical simulations (CP-DNS) of reacting iron particle clouds in turbulent flow will be conducted to shed light on the underlying physics. The carrier-phase DNS will resolve all scales of the turbulent reacting flow, but will revert to modelling of the particle boundary layers around the Lagrangian point particles. In a preliminary step, single particle burning in laminar flow will be simulated to validate the underlying solver framework and iron combustion sub-models. Subsequently turbulent iron particle cloud ignition and combustion will be studied for various ambient gas conditions in terms of composition, temperature and particle loading. The CP-DNS will improve our understanding of the underlying thermo-chemical phenomena that govern iron combustion, characterise the flame structure in detail and provide reference data for model development in the LES framework.

This sub-project strongly collaborates with the projects led by C. Hasse (numerical investigation of iron dust/air combustion), A. Scholtissek (modelling of single, iron-based microparticles) and B. Frohnapfel (immersed boundary modelling of transport processes around iron particles). Further synergies exist with the numerical research of U. Riedel’s group (kinetic model development and CFD of iron dust firing) and the experimental studies led by B. Böhm (single iron particles and clouds), A. Dreizler (laminar/turbulent iron dust flames), D. Trimis (laminar iron Bunsen flames) and O. Deutschmann (kinetic model development based on experiments).

Scientific questions:

1. What are the major characteristics of the temporal evolution of iron particles that heat up, ignite and burn in a turbulent flow?

2. How is the combustion process affected by the ambient gas conditions, particle cloud properties and turbulence characteristics?

3. What are the driving mechanisms of discrete/continuous iron dust flame stabilisation?


Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)


work +49 721 608-46837

Work CS 40.13 011
Engler-Bunte-Ring 7
76131 Karlsruhe


work +49 721 608-42584

Work CS 40.19 106
Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT)
Engler-Bunte-Ring 7
76131 76131