With the advent of lean premixed gas turbine combustors, research in the area of thermo-acoustic instabilities and active combustion control came into the limelight. To be able to predict and control these instabilities, it is required that both the acoustics of the system, and a frequency-resolved response of the combustion process to velocity perturbations be understood. Experimental techniques developed by the Virginia Active Combustion Control Group at Virginia Tech, to obtain an open loop flame transfer function were applied to both fully and partially premixed swirl stabilized turbulent gaseous flames using commercial grade methane as fuel. A frequency-resolved fluctuating velocity was applied at the inlet of the combustor within the frequency range of 20–400 Hz, and the OH* chemiluminescence was used as a measure of the fluctuating heat release rate within the flame. Experiments were conducted at atmospheric pressure for two swirl numbers of 0.79 and 1.19, and three equivalence ratios of 0.55, 0.60 and 0.65. The flow rates studied resulted in Reynolds numbers of 14,866 and 19,821. The results show that for the linear range, the magnitude of the FRF is primarily dependent on the premixing quality and the mean energy content of the mixture, while the phase of the FRF is quite sensitive to Φ′ oscillations and to the variations in the species concentration across the cross-section of the flow.

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