Large eddy simulation of thermally induced oscillatory flow in a thermoacoustic engine

Chen, G., Wang, Y., Tang, L., Wang, K. and Yu, Z. (2020) Large eddy simulation of thermally induced oscillatory flow in a thermoacoustic engine. Applied Energy, 276, 115458. (doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115458)

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In this paper, a comprehensive high-fidelity three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic research using large eddy simulation has been conducted to investigate a standing-wave quarter-wavelength thermoacoustic engine that consists of a hot buffer, a stack and a resonator. The performance of the thermoacoustic engine has been analysed in four aspects. Firstly, the dynamic characteristics of the engine during the initial start-up process are investigated when changing the temperature gradient imposed on the stack. Numerical results are compared with those from a system-wide reduced-order network model based on linear thermoacoustic theory. Secondly, the acoustic behaviour of the engine operating at steady state is studied. Fourier Series Model is utilized to decompose the steady-state acoustic pressure oscillations which reveals the unstable longitudinal acoustic modes excited in the engine. The stack serves as an energy source for the fundamental mode while it extracts acoustic power from the second harmonic. Thirdly, the hydrodynamic performances of the engine are inspected, and the obtained three-dimensional flow fields inside the engine enable us to probe into rich nonlinear phenomena including minor losses, mass streaming, etc. Finally, the heat transfer characteristics have been analysed by examining the mean temperature field and transversal heat fluxes along the engine. This research demonstrates that the large eddy simulation framework is effective in simulating the thermally induced oscillatory flow inside thermoacoustic engines. The multi-perspective analytical methodologies are valuable in comprehending the engine performance and provide guidelines for the design and optimization of efficient thermoacoustic engines for recovering waste thermal energy from various sources.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors want to acknowledge the high-performance computing (HPC) provided by New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI). The authors are grateful for the Universitas 21 Doctoral Student Mobility Scholarship from the University of Auckland and financial support from China Scholarship Council (no. 201608630046).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Yu, Professor Zhibin and CHEN, GENG
Creator Roles:
Chen, G.Conceptualization, Methodology, Software, Validation, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft
Yu, Z.Writing – review and editing, Supervision
Authors: Chen, G., Wang, Y., Tang, L., Wang, K., and Yu, Z.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Applied Energy
ISSN (Online):1872-9118
Published Online:10 July 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Applied Energy 276:115458
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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