Experiments in Fluids

, 57:140 | Cite as

Quantified infrared imaging of ignition and combustion in a supersonic flow

  • Timothy Ombrello
  • David L. Blunck
  • Michael Resor
Research Article


The utility of quantified infrared radiation imaging was evaluated through interrogating ignition and burning processes within a cavity-based flameholder in supersonic flows. Two ignition techniques, spark discharge and pulse detonation, along with quasi-steady cavity burning were used to assess the sensitivities of measurements of radiation intensities in the infrared. The shedding of ignition kernels from the spark discharge was imaged, showing that sufficient signal-to-noise ratios can be achieved even with weak radiation emission levels. The ignition events using a pulse detonator were captured with time-resolved measurements of the plume evolution, including the barrel shock, Mach disk, and shock diamonds. Radiation emissions from subsequent firings of the pulse detonator increased, indicating that heat loss to the tube walls occurred in the early pulses. Imaging of the quasi-steady burning within the cavity demonstrated that the highest burning flux (visible broadband chemiluminescence) and radiation from hydrocarbons (3.4 µm) do not coincide with each other for the fueling strategy used. Numerical simulations provided insight into the species distributions that caused the infrared emissions. Overall, infrared radiation measurements have been shown to be feasible through combustor windows in the harsh combustion environments that were interrogated, and offer a new avenue for rapid and quantitative measurements of reactive flow.


Shear Layer Supersonic Flow Radiation Emission Mach Disk Fuel Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of symbols


Radiation intensity (W/m2 sr)


Blackbody radiation intensity (W/m2 sr)


Path length (m)


Absorptivity (–)


Linear absorption coefficient (1/m)


Wavelength (µm)


Transmissivity (–)



Funding and support from the Air Force Research Laboratory is gratefully acknowledged. The authors wish to thank Dr. Andrew Lethander for the use of the FLIR SC6800HD infrared camera, as well as Mr. Paul Gross and Lt. David McLellan for running the facilities during the experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.High Speed Systems DivisionAir Force Research LaboratoryWright-Patterson AFBUSA
  2. 2.School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing EngineeringOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.Innovative Scientific Solutions, Inc.DaytonUSA

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