• New Online Journal Article Published Today

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This week a new paper (Article Number 200507, October 2005) has been published in the IFRF Combustion Journal (http://www.journal.ifrf.net), entitled:

Combustion-Driven Oscillation in Process Heaters


James G. Seebold
Chevron Corporation (Retired)
198 James Avenue
Atherton, CA 94027
Tel: (650)322-9893
e-mail: jim.seebold@earthlink.net

The author of this paper is well known for his contributions to the industrial combustion field. In this paper he shares his experiences with an annoying and potentially dangerous problem in operating large process combustors.

This paper discusses the theoretical basis and practical solutions to combustion driven oscillations. The subject matter is also presented in three Combustion Files recently published in the IFRF Online Combustion Handbook (Go to http://www.handbook.ifrf.net and search using “Seebold” as Author) .

At this moment in thousands of process heaters all over the world there are, to borrow a phrase from the late Carl Sagan, “… billions and billions …” of Btu/hr beneficially being released entirely free of pulsation.  On those few occasions, perhaps a dozen and a half in my career, when I would get the inevitable “Why me?” call, I have generally responded with something like, “Consider yourself lucky … you have a rare scientific curiosity on your hands!”

Reflecting on the solutions ultimately found, I’m reminded that many years ago my friend Abbott Putnam shared with me an early AGA (American Gas Association) field-service bulletin that included a prescription for eliminating combustion-driven oscillations in home heating units; viz., “Drill a hole; if that doesn’t work, drill another hole …” or words to that effect.  Many times have I wished that I still had a copy of that bulletin and in this paper we will have occasion, once again, to reflect upon the value of that advice.

In this paper we will discuss an instance that arose in a pioneering installation of a breakthrough development of “extremely” – to distinguish it from “ultra” – low-NOx lean premix burner technology. We will illustrate how, when and under what circumstances combustion-driven oscillation can arise; we will touch on the many alternatives for its elimination that were considered and investigated; and we will discuss three practical alternatives for eliminating combustion-driven oscillations.

Key Words:
Oscillation; pulsation; Rayleigh; Rayleigh Criterion; vibrations maintained by heat; singing flame; self-excited vibrations; lean premix; refinery; petrochemical;
The full paper may be downloaded from the server, in the “New Papers” section (http://www.journal.ifrf.net/articles.html), by clicking on the Acrobat PDF icon alongside the title.

Publication in the Journal
The Editor-in-Chief (See associated article in this edition of the MNM) would like to remind all potential authors that publication in the Journal is open to all. If you have interesting results to publish in the field of, or related to, industrial combustion, we invite you to prepare a paper according to the guidelines given in the Author’s Guide on the website (http://www.journal.ifrf.net/).

Papers may be regular “articles” (typically up to 20 pages) or Communications (typically up to 4/5 pages). Review papers can of course be longer. Remember that figures and graphics in general can be in full color. This advantage should be encouraged.

All manuscripts and associated files, proposed for publication should be sent by the Corresponding Author in a compressed/zip file, as an email attachment to journal@ifrf.net. This file should include a statement that the proposal’s content is unpublished material that has not being submitted for publication elsewhere. When an article by the author(s) is cited in the proposed article as “in press”, a copy of this article should accompany the proposed article and should be included in the compressed file.
The Editor-in-Chief looks forward to receiving your proposals.