Contents Motivation for studying E-fields on flames Flame composition E-field background Theory of E-field effects on flames E-field generation Observed effects on flames Soot reduction study Conclusion
Motivation for Electric Fields No adverse effects on materials that are already on fire Virtually endless supply compared to liquid suppressants (assuming a huge power supply present) Electric fields interrupt the chemical chain reaction needed for combustion Applications for flame stability have been shown
Flame Composition Flames are plasma containing charged ions (atoms that have lost an electron) Flames have mostly positive ions and high concentration of free electrons In all hydrocarbon flames the positive ions CH 3 +. H 3 O + CHO + and C 3 H 3 + are present.  The rate of ion generation depends on flame temperature and mixture composition but is independent of pressure
Chain Reactions in Flames RE + (M) R Chain initiation R + M I + (P) Chain propagation R + M α R + M* Chain branching R + M P + M Radical destruction, chain termination The chain initiation reaction is usually highly endothermic (heat-absorbing). This is why a high activation energy is needed to start the combustion process. Chain propagation reactions are slightly exothermic or endothermic, but there is not much energy difference between the products and reactants in this reaction. The chain branching reaction is slightly endothermic with low activation energy. The energy to drive the overall reaction comes from the chain termination reactions which are highly exothermic. Reactant: RE Molecule: M Radical: R Intermediate Product: I Reaction Product: P Not necessary: ( ) Excited int. energy: *
Ion Production in Flames 1. Ionization by collision A+B A + + B + e - 2. Electron transfer A+B A + + B - 3. Ionization by transfer of excitation energy A+B* A + + B + e - 4. Chemi-ionization A+B C + + D + e - A+B C + + D - There is no agreement as to the abundance and identity of negative ions formed in a flame, or as to the process by which they would be formed. The primary mechanism for ion formation in a flame is chemi-ionization. Chemi-ionization is the formation of an ion through the reaction of a gas phase atom or molecule with an atom or molecule in an excited state.
Positive ion concentrations vs. distance  CHO+ and C3H3+ are the primary chemi-ions, thus being parent ions from which all the other ions are formed either by charge transfer reaction or ionization by electron collision. Ion production and concentration greatest in luminous zone near flame tip Ion current (A), range 10 -12 to 10 -8 Distance from burner exit (cm), range 0 to 12
Flame Composition cont. A 100 K increase in flame temperature could increase ion generation rate 2 to 4 times  In lean mixture 3x10 13 ions/sec-cm 2 In near stoichiometric mixture 6x10 14 ions/sec-cm 2
Understanding the Electric Field An electric field is the electric force per unit charge The region in which forces are experienced due to the presence of electric charges is called the electric field Electric field is produced by applying a voltage across electrodes (cathodes and anodes) Electric field can produce an ion wind, or also known as a corona wind
Basic E-Field Visualization  Equipotential lines (red dotted lines shown below) are like contour lines on a map which trace lines of equal altitude. In this case the "altitude" is electric potential or voltage. Equipotential lines are always perpendicular to the electric field (EF shown as the black lines with direction arrows). In three dimensions, the lines form equipotential surfaces. Movement along an equipotential surface requires no work because such movement is always perpendicular to the electric field.
Electric Field Effect on Flame Increase flammability limits Reduce pollutants Effect temperature (by entraining air) Modify burning velocity Increase or decrease the heating to surfaces surrounding flame Note: All mentioned effects dependent on electrode geometries
Electric Field Effect on Flame Forces acting on a “gas” particle can be described by coulomb's law, and translated into terms of density of negative/positive particles is  : F ≈ Eq ± n ± In terms of voltage, the electric field can be written as: E ≈ Δ V / d In terms voltage dependence, the force on a gas is: F = Δ V (en ± /d)
Field strength vs. electrode distance  Breakdown current density occurs when the electric field strength reaches the breakdown strength in the gas.  The saturation current density occurs if the electrodes are far enough from the flame that ionization breakdown does not occur first.  The saturation current is reached when the field is stripping the ions out of the flame as fast as they are being produced.  The factors that affect this are flame size, composition, electrode geometry, and field strength.
Electric Field Effect on Flame cont. Corona wind is the effect of ions imparting a momentum on neutral gas particles, which in turn create a movement of air with the potential of taking out a flame Effects on combustion chemistry, corona winds strip charged radicals affecting sustainable combustion(accelerating electrons to energies capable of exciting, dissociating, or ionizing neutral species upon impact), and have been shown to reduce flame temperature Ionic wind can occur within the flame, charged particles move towards electrodes Arcing can also occur: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7_8Gc_Llr8
Suggested Effects on Chemistry 1  The chain branching reaction controls the overall rate of reaction, and therefore the flame speed & flame temperature. The rate of the reaction is influenced by the vibrational energy level of O 2, indicated by v. The free electrons in a flame pick up translational energy which through the interaction is then passed on to the O 2 population as an increase in internal vibrational energy v. This then increases the rate of the chain branching reaction and in turn flame temp. & speed The electron remains after colliding with the O 2, since there is only transfer of mechanical vibrational energy Chain branching reaction: Vibrational energy exchange:
Suggested Effects on Chemistry 2  To verify previous study, N 2 (N 2 is a strong absorber of e - ) was removed/replaced with an Argon mixture to see expected results of greater energy transfer efficiency of e - to O 2. The opposite effect was observed, as with greater energy transfer implying greater reaction rate and increased flame temperature this was not found. There was essentially no change Study concluded there must be other modes of energy transfer Collisional energy absorption:
Suggested Effects on Chemistry 3  There is vibrational energy transfer from N 2 to O 2 in addition to the direct e - to O 2 interaction If the free electrons do not collide with O 2 they will surely collide with N 2, either way the chain branching reaction rate will not significantly change by removing N 2 While this suggests that the absence of N 2 will not necessarily increase reaction rates, it does not imply it would decrease chain branching rates Collisional energy absorption: Collisional energy transfer:
Electrode Configurations Plate: flame placed between two plates (or gauze) acting as anode/cathode Cylindrical: usually in the form of a meshed grid surface between an upper charged ring and a base metal. The mesh grid acting as an electrode itself. Point: either cathode or anode, depending on polarity of corona wind, is situated in front of a counter electrode with a spacing which accelerated charged particles pass through Note: For all configurations assume DC produced fields, unless I say otherwise
Point Electrode  EF Strength in Relation to ElectrodesSetup
Cool/Interesting Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk AJQ0Ggh_Y
Electrode Comparisons Through one study, the plate electrodes required greater applied voltage of around 15 kV to extinguish a laminar diffusion flame. The cylinder setup required between only 5 and 8 kV  Majority of studies have been on the cylindrical mesh (gauze electrode) setup, which also showed decrease in flame lift-off height No comparative studies have been done for point electrode configurations
Experimental Observations The luminous zone of flame is shown to be attracted to the negative electrode, being the CHO+, H3O+, C2H3O+, and CH5O+ ions (fuel: methane)  The blue section of flame shown to be attracted to positive electrode, being the O2 −, OH −, O −, CHO2 −, CHO3 −, and CO3 − ions (fuel: methane)  The accumulation of charge is once again relatable to the electric force density, F = ρ E
Flame Structure Effects Images of stoichiometric CH4/air flame: a) without EF b) with EF of positive polarity c)with EF of negative polarity. Distance between electrodes: 8 mm.  In the case of positive polarity, the EF forces positively charged gas to move downward causing deceleration of the gas flow and, as a consequence of the integral flow continuity, the observed flow divergence. Conversely, the observed flow convergence in the case of negative polarity can be attributed to the upward acceleration of positively charged gas by electrical force. 
Experimental Observations cont. Flame instability or stability is increased with increase in current, or voltage At near extinguishment, when most instability observed, the luminous region of flame disappears (possibly due to stripping of carbon before it “gets hot enough to glow”) Diffusion flames require lower extinguishment voltage than premixed flames
Positive effects of Electric Fields Depending on electrode placement, energy is added to combustion process by raising the energy level of free electrons, increasing reaction rate Electric field applied across burner exit shown to reduce soot emission Electric fields effect on nitrogen molecules in pre-flame zone shown to accelerate the oxidation process
Control of Soot Emission Study 1  Goal: To reduce the concentration of growing ions, i.e., soot precursors, which directly relate to the soot emission of the flame.  The charged species and electrons carried into the flame may influence the state of charging of incipient soot particles and also reduce the concentration of growing ions, i.e., soot precursors, which directly relate to the soot emission of the flame. 
DC corona discharge on soot emission  DC corona application: additional air and inorganic charged species and electrons, produced in the air near the tip of the positive electrode, are carried into the flame mainly by corona winds. 
AC corona discharge on soot emission  AC corona application: The inorganic charged species and electrons are carried into the flame by diffusion processes.  Cation is an ion with fewer electrons than protons
AC vs. DC Electric Fields DC requires electrode placement very close to flame surface to maximize ion currents and gas velocities DC requires direct exposure of electrodes, no electrically insulated material AC is time-oscillatory, and electric field is localized at flame surface AC generated field does not depend on location of electrodes, but rather E-field strength at point
Study 2 Findings The soot emission was decreased increasing the applied voltage, and the efficiency of the soot suppression exceeded 90% in the region of applied voltage over 7 kV. At the applied voltage over 8 kV, the flame temperature reached above 2000 'C. It is considered that the ionic wind enhanced the mixing of the fuel gas and surrounding gas, consequently, the high flame temperature of flame caused the oxidation of soot particles.
AC vs. DC with insulated electrodes Electrohydrodynamic response of the flame using glass-insulated electrodes for DC (E0 = 75 kV/m; left) and AC (E0 = 75 kVrms/m, ν = 800 Hz; right) fields  Schlieren Imaging
Summary Electric field use in large uncontrolled fires has not been applied or studied Most research has been on the scientific side, used only on small flames, i.e. bunsen burners and candles Flame stability has been studied. Electric fields effect on nitrogen molecules in pre-flame zone shown to accelerate the oxidation process. Not enough evidence of ionic wind having a very impactful effect on combustion chemistry, mostly theory Soot reduction applications may be worth further studying in actual combustion systems, i.e. gas turbines
Personal Thoughts Possible “threshold” voltage, where at a certain point the e-field changes from more of a chemical effect to a mechanical one Applications in gas turbines? Not a great idea for fire suppressant
Sources 1.http://nikemissile.org/Humor.shtmlhttp://nikemissile.org/Humor.shtml 2.Electric Fields for Flame Extinguishment, T.S Call, D.B Schwartz, March 1993 Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency, HQ AFCESA/RACF, Tyndall AFB FL 3.http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/equipot.html#c2http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/equipot.html#c2 4.Jaggers, H.C., and Von Engel, A., "The Effect of Electric Fields on the Burning Velocity of Various Flames," Combustion and Flame 16, 275-285 (1971). 5.Shebeko, Y.N., "Effect of an AC Electric Field on Normal Combustion Rate of Organic Compounds in Air," Fiz. Goreniva Vzrvva 18, No. 4, 48-50 (1982).
Sources 6. www.basinc.comwww.basinc.com 7. Electrical Modification of Combustion and the Affect of Electrode Geometry on the Field Produced, Timothy J. C. Dolmansley, Christopher W.Wilson, David A. Stone, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Modeling and Simulation in Engineering, Volume 2011, Article ID 676428 8. http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2011/10/17/essential-guide-to-the- eu-chapter-2/candle_flame_plasma_in_e-field_450x337/http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2011/10/17/essential-guide-to-the- eu-chapter-2/candle_flame_plasma_in_e-field_450x337/ 10.Towards the mechanism of DC electric field effect on flat premixed flames, E.N. Volkov, A.V. Sepman, V.N. Kornilov, A.A. Konnov, Y.S. Shoshin, L.P.H. de Goey, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Eindhoven Technical University, Eindhoven, the Netherlands 11. http://www.electronics-cooling.com/2012/03/ionic-winds-a-new- frontier-for-air-cooling/
Sources 12. Control of soot emission of a turbulent diffusion flame by DC or AC corona discharges, Hiromichi Ohisa, Itsuro Kimura, Hideyuki Horisawa, Department of Aerospace Engineering (H. O., I. K.) and Department of Precision Mechanics (H. H.), Tokai University, Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, Japan 13.Variation of flame shape and soot emission by applying electric field, Masahiro Saito, Masayuki Sato, Katsuhiro Sawada, Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Gunma University, Kio,u, Gunma- ken 376, Japan 14. AC electric fields drive steady flows in flames, Aaron M. Drews,1 Ludovico Cademartiri, Michael L. Chemama, Michael P. Brenner, George M. Whitesides, and Kyle J. M. Bishop, Kavli Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA