Staged combustion can be employed to reduce the formation of CO and NOx, stabilize the flame, decrease the flame temperature and create better working conditions in gas turbine combustors. To help understand influences of partial premixing and addition of water on NOx formation, we study two-stage flames in a counterflow spray burner. This paper reports experimental and theoretical results concerning two-stage combustion in which one feed stream is composed of a fuel-rich mixture of methane and air and the other is air. Water sprays are added to the air stream. This two-phase laminar counterflow configuration exhibits a green premixed flame, a blue diffusion flame and a vaporization plane. All three are flat and parallel. The separation distances between them decrease with increasing equivalence ratio and strain rate. Flow visualization is provided through illumination by an argon ion laser sheet, velocity fields and spray structure are measured by a phase-doppler particle analyzer, concentration fields of major stable species are measured by gas chromatography of samples withdrawn from the flame, and temperature fields are measured by a thermocouple. Numerical integrations which employ a recent chemical-kinetic data base are performed to model the flame structure and NOx formation. Comparisons of experimental results with numerical predictions are made to test agreement. This work provides information on hydrocarbon combustion in both premixed flames and diffusion flames, indicates how NOx is formed in fuel-rich flames and suggests how the pollutants can be reduced.

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