Flame spread on a fuel droplet array has been studied as a simple model of spray combustion. A three-fuel-droplet array with a pendulum suspender was employed to investigate interactions between flame spread and droplet motion in the axial direction. Initial droplet diameter was 0.8 mm, and fuel was n-heptane. A silicon carbide pendulum suspender of 15 μm in diameter and 30 mm in length was used for the third droplet. The first fixed droplet was ignited by electric spark. Behavior of the flame and the third droplet was observed using a high-speed video camera with an image intensifier. Particle tracking velocimetry (PTV) measurements were performed to explain the behavior of the third movable droplet. The dimensionless droplet span, which is the average of droplet-to-droplet distances divided by the average initial diameter of the three droplets, was varied from 2.5 to 8 for observing flame spread, and fixed at 5.5 for PTV measurements. It was observed that the third droplet moved away from the second droplet before the flame spread to the third droplet. The displacement of the third droplet is remarkable when the dimensionless droplet span is close to the limit of flame spread. This implies that the movement of the droplet decreases the dimensionless span of the flame spread limit and the flame spread speed near the flame spread limit. Results of PTV measurements suggest that the heat expansion wave, caused by ignition of the premixture which was accumulated around the second droplet, and the burned gas flow from the second droplet pushed away the third droplet; then natural convection, induced by the flames of the first and second droplets, drew the third droplet to the second droplet. The heat expansion wave and the burned gas flow of the second droplet reached nearly 12 in dimensionless span.
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