Swirling flames are important in practical industrial combustors. The dynamic characteristics of swirling flames form complex velocity and temperature fields, which indicate combustion efficiency and influence pollutant emission. A reliable numerical simulation that can calculate the entire velocity and temperature fields is required to understand and investigate the underlying combustion mechanism. The governing equations of the methane swirling combustion process consist of the mass conservation, Navier-Stokes, and energy equations, all of which are solved by the SIMPLE algorithm based on finite volume method. This study performed a simulation using the realizable k-ε and non-premixed models in conjunction with the GRI Mech 3.0 mechanism. The characteristics of swirling combustion were analyzed on the bases of visualizations of temperature distribution, velocity distribution, and streamlines. In each cross section with varying heights from the nozzle, the high velocity and high temperature areas showed similar closed or semi-closed annular structures. In the central longitudinal section, the V-shaped high temperature and high velocity regions showed the swirling structure of the combustion flow field. The high temperature area did not coincide with the high velocity area but was located relatively downstream. The high velocity area was in the periphery of the high temperature area. Furthermore, the effects of swirl blade position on methane combustion characteristics were discussed. The validity of the numerical simulation results was verified by the simultaneous laser measurement of 3D temperature and velocity fields in the swirling flame.

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