Volume 6, Issue 10 (November 2009)
An Approach to Understanding Flow Friction Ignition: A Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Study on Temperature Development of High-Pressure Oxygen Flow Inside Micron-Scale Seal Cracks
Flow friction ignition of non-metallic materials in oxygen is a poorly understood heat-generating mechanism thought to be caused by oxygen flow past a non-metallic sealing surface. Micron-scale fatigue cracks or channels were observed on non-metallic sealing surfaces of oxygen components and could provide a leak path for the high-pressure oxygen to flow across the seal. Literature in the field of micro-fluidics research has noted that viscous dissipation, a heat-generating mechanism, may not be negligible as the flow dimension of the channel is reduced to the micron-scale. Results of a computational fluid dynamics study are presented and used to determine if temperatures developed in high-pressure driven micro-channel oxygen flows are capable of reaching the reported autogenous ignition temperature of non-metallic materials in oxygen.