A vortex-dynamical scaling theory for flickering buoyant diffusion flames

Xi Xia, Peng Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The flickering of buoyant diffusion flames is associated with the periodic shedding of toroidal vortices that are formed under gravity-induced shearing at the flame surface. Numerous experimental investigations have confirmed the scaling, , where is the flickering frequency and is the diameter of the fuel inlet. However, the connection between the toroidal vortex dynamics and the scaling has not been clearly understood. By incorporating the finding of Gharib et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 360, 1998, pp. 121-140) that the detachment of a continuously growing vortex ring is inevitable and can be dictated by a universal constant that is essentially a non-dimensional circulation of the vortex, we theoretically established the connection between the periodicity of the toroidal vortices and the flickering of a buoyant diffusion flame with small Froude number. The scaling theory for flickering frequency was validated by the existing experimental data of pool flames and jet diffusion flames.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1156-1169
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2018


  • flames
  • instability
  • vortex flows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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