Dr Chris Coats

University Fellow

Dr Chris Coats

University Fellow
Thermal and Fluid Engineering Research Group

BSc, PhD (Leeds), CEng, MEI, MRAeS, MIGEM
T: +44 (0)116 252 2530
F: +44 (0)116 252 2525
E: cmc7@le.ac.uk

Biography and Research Interests:
Dr. Coats’ research and teaching interests are in the areas of fluid dynamics, combustion and energy more generally. Following a period of fundamental research on the kinetics of ignition at the University of Leeds he spent more than a decade working on advanced combustion systems for gas turbine engines at the former National Gas Turbine Establishment at Pyestock. After a further period of project work on aerospace systems at RAE Farnborough he returned to Leeds as a British Gas Senior Research Fellow where he worked for six years on combustion problems of interest to the gas industry. Since joining the Engineering Department at Leicester in 1992 he has continued to focus in his research on combustion-related problems and in particular on the unsteady fluid dynamics that control many practical combustion processes.  An area of major research interest is that of shear-driven turbulent mixing. It has been known for many years that the classical turbulence models used in most current computerbased flow predictions misrepresent the real mixing  process in many situations. EPSRC-funded laboratory experiments and large-eddy simulation work at Leicester are providing new insights into the physics of these mixing processes. An important ‘first”, in work jointly supervised with Dr. Shian Gao, has been the recent extension of large-eddy simulations of spatially evolving mixing layers to the high-Reynolds-number regime beyond the so called “mixing transition”. It is planned to extend these studies, with the use of advanced laser techniques, to examine the coupling between the processes of mixing, autoignition and reaction heat release under conditions relevant to future gas turbines. The practical aim of this research is to find ways of exploiting natural mixing mechanisms to sustain combustion under conditions that will not support conventional flames. This is in turn relevant to the reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere in contexts ranging from aircraft propulsion to electricity generation with carbon capture and storage.

Another area of research that has received both EPSRC and industrial support is that of combustion-induced vibration. This is a familiar problem in aerospace propulsion systems and utility gas turbines but has recently become a problem also in domestic heating systems as a result of design changes made to increase thermal efficiency and reduce emissions. The special features of the problem in this context have required the development of novel experimental methodologies including the use of high-intensity free-field sound as a  diagnostic and the use of high-resolution laser techniques to visualise the responses of very small flames.


Dr Chris Coats - single flame image

Small lean premixed flames oscillating at frequency of 600 Hz in response to sound level of 131.6 dB, visualised by laser-induced fluorescence from free CH radicals in the flame front. Cycle progresses in clockwise direction.

Selected Publications:
• W. A. McMullan, S. Gao and C. M. Coats, A comparative study of inflow conditions for two- and three-dimensional spatially developing mixing layers using large eddy simulation, Int. J. Numer. Meth. Fluids 55 (2007) 589-610.
• C. M. Coats, Z. Chang and P. D. Williams, Excitation of thermoacoustic oscillations by premixing domestic gas burners, Combust. Sci. Tech. 180 (2008) 314-342.

• C. M. Coats, Z. Chang and P. D. Williams, Excitation of thermoacoustic oscillations by small premixed flames, to appear.
• D’Ovidio, A. and Coats, C. M., Coherent-structure evolution in turbulent mixing layers. Part 1: Experimental evidence, in preparation.

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