MS Defense: Sundar Ram Manikandan

Tue Aug 09 2022 11:00 AM
Montgomery Knight Building, 317
"Characterization of non-volatile particulate matter in pressurized laminar Jet-A flames via thermophoretic sampling"

Master's Defense

Sundar Ram Manikandan

(Advisor: Adam M. Steinberg)

"Characterization of non-volatile particulate matter in pressurized laminar Jet-A flames via thermophoretic sampling"


Tuesday, August 9 
11:00 a.m.
Montgomery Knight Building, 317

MS Teams


Production and subsequent emissions of non-volatile particulate matter (nvPM) pose a challenge for both optical diagnostics and physical probing, especially at conditions relevant to practical combustors. Key to enabling nvPM mitigation is in-situ optical measurements, particularly laser induced incandescence (LII). However, interpreting the LII signals is challenging. To quantitatively use LII in gas turbines, their measurements must be calibrated and validated against physical nvPM samples. The preferred approach for extracting these physical samples is in-situ thermophoretic soot sampling followed by transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging.

This thesis work deals with the design of a multi-probe thermophoretic soot sampling system capable of extracting nvPM samples in laminar, rich flames of prevaporized jet-A/air premixtures at elevated pressures. The flames under investigation were observed to exhibit thermal-diffusive instabilities, that are responsible for the flame to form corrugated structures. Moreover, these instabilities cause the corrugated flame to exhibit spatio-temporal variations, which exacerbate the challenges in implementing diagnostics. For the soot sampler, a sampling time of 125 ms was required to obtain sufficient soot deposition on the TEM grids. Visualization of the data through the TEM revealed (i) a wide range of soot particle size varying between 10 – 250 nm; (ii) presence of non-soot organic matters that include (1) fibers, (2) sharp contrasted mineral-like structures, and (3) uniform and porous spherical structures with varying contrast; and (iii) the dominant morphological characteristics of the flame generated soot particles that are indicative of its chemically reactive nature and restructuring. Furthermore, the quantitative results show (i) increasing soot particle size with increasing pressure, and (ii) an increasing-decreasing trend for the mean soot particle size with height above the burner. While the effect of pressure is explained by the enhanced extent of graphitization and maturity in the nanostructures of soot particles at elevated pressures; the dependence of height is explained through particle agglomeration for the initial increase in size with height, followed by oxidation of the particles respectively.


  • Prof. Adam Michael Steinberg – School of Aerospace Engineering (advisor)
  • Prof. Ellen Yi Chen Mazumdar – School of Mechanical Engineering
  • Prof. Wenting Sun – School of Aerospace Engineering