In this sixth installment of a 14-part series of monthly articles, The Combustion Institute recognizes the 2017 Distinguished Papers selected from among the scientific papers presented during the 36th International Symposium on Combustion. Congratulations to M.A. Endo Kokubun, F.F. Fachini, and M. Matalon for winning the DPA in the Laminar Flames colloquium.

The authoritative paper, Stabilization and extinction of diffusion flames in an inert porous medium, explores combustion in inert porous media. These types of combustion practices are used in many commercial applications, such as industrial heaters, waste disposal systems, and heat recirculators, and typically operate in the diffusion flame regime. Studies have reported that the confined flames resulting in such systems present temperatures lower than the comparable flames in gaseous systems. This research could lead to lower emissions of potentially hazardous combustion products.

The scientific team’s research addressed the stabilization of a diffusion flame in a porous inert matrix, the interaction between the matrix and the flame, and most importantly, how flame extinction is affected by the mass injection rate and degree of porosity of the inert matrix. This important problem, to the best of the team’s knowledge, had not been previously addressed. The flammability map they obtained, including the condition for absolute inflammability, is of substantial fundamental value and of great practical relevance.

Given the fundamental nature of the work, the immediate impact of the paper will promote experimental verification in laboratory settings, and guide large scale numerical simulations of real systems. In the long-term, the scientific team’s research makes advancements to achieve a profound understanding of combustion in a porous inert matrix, and the associated flame-solid interactions. That understanding will help the design and development of better industrial waste disposals and burners that emit lower amounts of pollutants and hazardous compounds. The team’s research also provides a more complete characterization on how solid fuels burn.

The research will mostly benefit engineers and scientists that work with porous media combustion. The scientific team also believes the peculiar characteristics the problems presented offer interesting opportunities for researchers who work in modeling and simulation of combustion problems.

The majority of the paper’s research was conducted in the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States. The early stages of the study began in the summer of 2013 and was completed in the summer of 2015.

About 1,300 papers were submitted to the 36th Symposium in 14 combustion science colloquia. Those papers were categorized by teams of colloquium coordinators and co-chairs, and then distributed to approximately 1,000 scientific reviewers. One paper in each discipline was awarded the recognition of Distinguished Paper.

The 14 Distinguished Papers undergo committee review for consideration to receive the Silver Combustion Medal that will be awarded during the 37th Symposium in Dublin, Ireland. A paper selected for this honor exemplifies quality, achievement, and significance to advance a field of combustion science. Distinguished papers are selected biennially from among the scientific papers presented during the International Symposium on Combustion and accepted for publication in the Proceedings of The Combustion Institute.