Combustion Physics Group
The Combustion Physics Group provides a forum for the discussion of the physical aspects of flames, ignition, detonation and related topics.
It is concerned with these issues both at a fundamental level and in the context of the practical use of wanted combustion processes in engines, boilers and other systems and unwanted combustion in the form of fires and explosions. Emphasis on the physical aspects of combustion is continuing to increase rapidly. The Group was formed in 1973 and current membership comprises a good mix of industrialists and academics.
On the diagnostic side, the spectroscopy of flames and optical methods based on external light sources provide two of the main tools for flame study and, indeed, almost all the diagnostic techniques are physical. The increased use of lasers, both in optical techniques associated with combustion (e.g. holography, Doppler anemometry, fluorescence and coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy) and in focused form for ignition and heating is an example of an interest area of the Group.
The combination of electrical discharges and plasma jets with flames, together with spark ignition, are among the growing field of electrical aspects of combustion. Hybrid electrical/combustion devices are likely to become more important as the cost of fuel increases. The physical properties of low temperature plasmas generally have also been embraced within the interest of the Group at the request of a number of leading workers in the field. Concern about combustion noise and particulate emissions has led to association of the subject with acoustics and with the scattering of energy respectively. The rapid fluctuations in energy prices, together with increasing concern over the environmental impact of combustion processes, have led to an appreciation of the relevance of combustion and heat transfer to the development of high efficiency appliances with reduced environmental impact and to the use of poor fuels and lean mixtures. The need for economy has also engendered renewed interest in topics such as sensing, feedback and control in combustion systems at the applied level and in modelling combustion processes at a fundamental level both in laboratory systems and in practical devices using combustion for heat generation.
The Group arranges several meetings a year, some independently, others in association with other Groups of the Institute and some jointly with other professional bodies such as the British Section of the Combustion Institute and the Institute of Energy. A newsletter containing relevant articles, reports on meetings and a diary of future events is produced twice a year.