Investigating the Stability of the Blue Whirl

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The blue whirl, recently discovered while studying oil spill remediation over a water surface, sparked interest because of its soot free, fuel flexible nature. Preliminary experimentation, performed with buoyancy induced airflow via two lifted and offset quartz glass half-cylinder shells, revealed information about the flame’s structure, flow profile, and exhaust gas emissions and particulate. Additionally, several computational models produced results detailing flame structure and flow field. Questions regarding the impact of forced flow conditions and fuel type on flame stability and formation, however, remain unanswered. To answer these questions, an advanced experimental apparatus was developed. Varying forced airflow and fuel types were tested and measured against blue whirl flame stability. Further, hysteresis tests for airflow and fuel flow were performed. Stable blue whirls were observed across each airflow profile and fuel type. System response to fuel type was seen to be non-uniform. Lastly, hysteresis was only observed for airflow.