Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard D. Branam, PhD


The AFIT Combustion Optimization and Analysis Laser (COAL) lab’s modular design and state-of-the-art diagnostic systems make it a flexible and important facility for the analysis of combustion processes. The objectives of the current research are to install several enhancements in the lab, validate the laser diagnostic system, characterize the igniter for AFIT’s Ultra-Compact Combustor (UCC) sections, and perform a non-intrusive laser diagnostic, performance, and high-speed video analysis of a flat-cavity UCC section. Validation of the laser system was accomplished using OH Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) in a laminar hydrogen-air flame produced by a Hencken burner. Results are compared to previous research to show improvements. Both ratios of intensities and excitation scans in the OH (A-X) (1-0) electronic transition system are used to measure temperature and species concentrations. Igniter characterization was accomplished using open-air flammability and flame height observations to select an anticipated operating condition. That condition was validated by attaching the igniter to the UCC section and observing its performance. An operating procedure is recommended. A PLIF flame location study using optically-clear quartz windows on the combustor was performed in the cavity-vane area. Performance measurements and high-speed video footage were also acquired in order to analyze the system. Results are compared to previous experimental and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) research. Future work will include instantaneous two-color PLIF and other laser diagnostic studies of several different locations inside AFIT’s flat- and curved-cavity UCC sections.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number