Premixed combustion is a common technology applied in modern gas turbine combustors to minimize nitrogen oxide emissions. However, early mixing of fuel and oxidizer opens up the possibility of flame flashback into the premixing section upstream of the combustion chamber. Especially for highly reactive fuels boundary layer flashback is a serious challenge. For high preheating and burner surface temperatures, boundary layer flashback limits for burner stabilized flames converge to those of so-called confined flames, where the flame is stabilized inside the burner duct. Hence, the prediction of confined flashback limits is a highly technically relevant task.
In this study, a predictive model for flashback limits of confined flames is developed for premixed hydrogen-air mixtures. As shown in earlier studies, confined flashback is initiated by boundary layer separation upstream of the flame tip. Hence, the flashback limit can be predicted identifying the minimum pressure rise upstream of a confined flame causing boundary layer separation. For this purpose, the criterion of Stratford is chosen which was originally developed for boundary layer separation in mere aerodynamic phenomena. It is shown in this paper that it can also be applied to near wall combustion processes if the pressure rise upstream of the flame tip is modeled correctly. In order to determine the pressure rise, an expression for the turbulent burning velocity is derived including the effects of flame stretch and turbulence. A comparison of the predicted flashback limits and experimental data shows high prediction accuracy and wide applicability of the developed model.