Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Giles Henderson


A laser interferometer is developed to study the refractive index field, aerodynamic structure, and three dimensional temperature profile of a methane-oxygen flame system under the influence of D.C. electric fields. A combined graphical-numerical method is used to transform the observed interference patterns into radial temperature distributions. The results indicate that the electric field exerts a marked influence on the flame stability, geometry, and charged particle flow. Experimental evidence shows that these effects are most apparent under fuel rich conditions. It is suggested an electric field may change the concentration gradients of reacting species, leading to an altered course of fuel pyrolysis. The possibility of new electron-molecule reactions is also examined.