The introduction of lean premixed combustion technology in industrial gas turbines has led to a number of interesting technical issues. Lean premixed combustors are especially prone to acoustically-coupled combustion oscillations as well as to other problems of flame stability such as flashback. Clearly it is very important to understand the physics that lies behind such behaviour in order to produce robust and comprehensive remedies, and also to underpin the future development of new combustor designs. Simulation of the flow and combustion using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) offers an attractive way forward, provided that the modelling of turbulence and combustion is adequate and that the technique is applicable to real industrial combustor geometries. The paper presents a series of CFD simulations of the Rolls-Royce Trent industrial combustor carried out using the McNEWT unstructured code. The entire combustion chamber geometry is represented including the premixing ducts, the fuel injectors and the discharge nozzle. A modified k-ε model has been used together with an advanced laminar flamelet combustion model that is sensitive to variations in fuel-air mixture stoichiometry. Detailed results have been obtained for the non-reacting flow field, for the mixing of fuel and air and for the combustion process itself at a number of different operating conditions. The study has provided a great deal of useful information on the operation of the combustor and has demonstrated the value of CFD-based combustion analysis in an industrial context.

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