Assessment of the constant non-unity Lewis number assumption in chemically-reacting flows

Nicholas Burali, Simon Lapointe, Brock Bobbitt, Guillaume Blanquart, Yuan Xuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Accurate computation of molecular diffusion coefficients in chemically reacting flows can be an expensive procedure, and the use of constant non-unity Lewis numbers has been adopted often as a cheaper alternative. The goal of the current work is to explore the validity and the limitations of the constant non-unity Lewis number approach in the description of molecular mixing in laminar and turbulent flames. To carry out this analysis, three test cases have been selected, including a lean, highly unstable, premixed hydrogen/air flame, a lean turbulent premixed n-heptane/air flame, and a laminar ethylene/air coflow diffusion flame. For the hydrogen flame, both a laminar and a turbulent configuration have been considered. The three flames are characterised by Lewis numbers which are less than unity, greater than unity, and close to unity, respectively. For each flame, mixture-averaged transport simulations are carried out and used as reference data. The current analysis suggests that, for numerous combustion configurations, the constant non-unity Lewis number approximation leads to small errors when the set of Lewis numbers is chosen properly. For the selected test cases and our numerical framework, the reduction of computational cost is found to be minimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-657
Number of pages26
JournalCombustion Theory and Modelling
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 3 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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