It is well known that microgravity conditions, by eliminating buoyant flow, enable many combustion phenomena to be observed that are not possible to observe at normal gravity. One example is the spherical diffusion flame surrounding a porous spherical bumer [1,2]. The present paper demonstrates that by superimposing a spherical electrical field on such a flame, the flame remains spherical so that we can study the interaction between the electric field and flame in a one-dimensional fashion. Flames are susceptible to electric fields that are much weaker than the breakdown field of the flame gases [3-7] owing to the presence of ions generated in the high temperature flame reaction zone. These ions and the electric current of the moving ions, in turn, significantly change the distribution of the electric field . Thus, to understand the interplay between the electric field and the flame is challenging. Numerous experimental studies of the effect of electric fields on flames have been reported [9-15]. Unfortunately, they were all involved in complex geometries of both the flow field and the electric field, which hinders detailed study of the phenomena. In a one-dimensional domain, however, the electric field, the flow field, the thermal field and the chemical species field are all co-linear. Thus the problem is greatly simplified and becomes more tractable.
Yuan, Z.G., Hegde, U., Faeth, G.M., Spherical Ethylene/Air Diffusion Flames Subject to Concentric DC Electric Field in Microgravity, Sixth International Microgravity Combustion Workshop, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, CP-2001-210826, pp. 425-428, 2001.