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Rev Sci Instrum. 2018 Feb;89(2):025109. doi: 10.1063/1.5006087.

Characterization of a new Hencken burner with a transition from a reducing-to-oxidizing environment for fundamental coal studies.

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Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA.
Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


In pulverized coal burners, coal particles usually transition from a locally reducing environment to an oxidizing environment. The locally reducing environment in the near-burner region is due to a dense region of coal particles undergoing devolatilization. Following this region, the particles move into an oxidizing environment. This "reducing-to-oxidizing" transition can influence combustion processes such as ignition, particulate formation, and char burnout. To understand these processes at a fundamental level, a system is required that mimics such a transition. Hence, we have developed and characterized a two-stage Hencken burner to evaluate the effect of the reducing-to-oxidizing transition and particle-to-particle interaction (which characterizes dense region of coal particles) on ignition and ultrafine aerosol formation. The two-stage Hencken burner allows coal particles to experience a reducing environment followed by a transition to an oxidizing environment. This work presents the results of the design and characterization of the new two-stage Hencken burner and its new coal feeder. In a unique approach to the operation of the flat-flame of the Hencken burner, the flame configurations are operated as either a normal flame or inverse flame. Gas temperatures and oxygen concentrations for the Hencken burner are measured in reducing-to-oxidizing and oxidizing environments. The results show that stable flames with well-controlled conditions, relatively uniform temperatures, and species concentrations can be achieved in both flame configurations. This new Hencken burner provides an effective system for evaluating the effect of the reducing-to-oxidizing transition and particle-to-particle interaction on early-stage processes of coal combustion such as ignition and ultrafine particle formation.


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