Computational time to model radiative heat transfer in a cylindrical Pressurized Oxy-Coal (POC) combustor was reduced by incorporating the multi-dimensional characteristics of the combustion field. The Discrete Transfer Method (DTM) and the Discrete Ordinates Method (DOM) were modified to work with a computational mesh that transitions from 3D cells to axisymmetric and then 1D cells, also known as a dimensionally adaptive mesh. For the DTM, three methods were developed for selecting so-called transdimensional rays, the Single Unweighted Ray (SUR) technique, the Multiple Unweighted Ray (MUR) technique, and the Single Weighted Ray (SWR) technique. For the DOM, averaging methods for handling radiative intensity at dimensional boundaries were developed. Limitations of both solvers with adaptive meshes were identified by comparison with fully 3D results. For the DTM, the primary limit was numerical error associated with view factor calculations. For the DOM, treatment of dimensional boundaries led to step changes that created numerical oscillations, the severity of which was lessened by both increased angular resolution and increased optical thickness. Performance of dimensionally adaptive radiation calculations, uncoupled to any other physical calculation, was evaluated with a series of sensitivity studies including sensitivity to spatial and angular resolution, dimensional boundary placement, and reactor scaling. Runtime was most impacted by boundary layer placement. For the upstream case which had 3D cells over 40% of the reactor length, the speedup versus the fully 3D calculations were 743%, 18%, 220%, and 76% for the SUR, MUR, SWR, and DOM calculations, respectively. The downstream case which had 3D cells over the first 60% of the reactor length, had speedups of 209%, 3%, 109%, and 37%, respectively. For the DTM, accuracy was most sensitive to optical thickness, with the average percent difference in incident heat flux for SUR, MUR, and SWR calculations versus fully 3D calculations being 0.93%, 0.86%, and 1.18%, respectively, for a reactor half the size of the baseline case. The case with four times the reactor size had average percent differences of 0.28%, 0.41%, and 0.39% for the SUR, MUR, and SWR, respectively. Accuracy of the DOM was comparatively insensitive to the different changes studied. Performance of dimensionally adaptive radiation calculations coupled with thermochemistry was also investigated for both pilot and industrial scale systems. For pilot scale systems, flux and temperature differences from either solver were less than 5% and 6%, respectively, with speedups being between 200% - 600%. For industrial systems, temperature differences as high as 15% - 20% and flux differences as high as 50% - 75% were seen. In the case of the DTM, these differences between fully 3D and adaptive results come from a combination of high property gradients and comparatively few rays being drawn and could therefore be improved, at the cost of additional computation time, by using a more sophisticated ray selection method. For the DOM, these issues stem from poor performance of the 1D portion of the solver and could therefore be improved by using a more sophisticated equation to model the radiative transfer in the 1D region.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Coal combustion, Radiation Heat Transfer, Adaptive Mesh, Discrete Transfer Method, Discrete Ordinates Method, Adaptive Dimensionality



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Engineering Commons