Legislation controlling the permitted levels of pollutant emissions from aircraft gas turbines has been an increasingly important design driver for the combustion system for some time, particularly with respect to oxides of nitrogen. This has lead to many suggestions for radical departures from the geometry of the classical combustor configuration involving, for example, lean premixed module technology, or staging (axially or radially) of combustor pilot and main zones. The optimum operation of any combustor also requires, however, appropriate and efficient distribution of compressor delivery air to the various flametube features (fuel injectors, dilution ports, for cooling and for air bleed purposes). Radial staging, leading to double annular combustor configurations, poses a particularly difficult challenge. The radial depth of the combustor increases to a level where the external aerodynamics of the combustor involves large flow turning after the pre-diffuser. Careful design is then needed to achieve acceptable levels of loss coefficient in the outer annulus. If these aspects are not properly addressed then inadequate penetration and mixing in the combustor interior can result, rendering low emissions performance impossible. This paper will report on the design, instrumentation and operation of a fully annular isothermal test facility, which has been developed specifically to enable this important issue of external flow quality in double annular combustor systems to be assessed. Representative inlet conditions to the combustion system are generated using a single stage axial compressor; modular construction enables quick and inexpensive changes to components of the combustor (pre-diffuser, cowl shape, liner port locations and geometrical details). Computerised rig control and data acquisition allows the collection of large amounts of high quality data. In addition to the calculation of overall system performance, it is then possible to identify flow mechanisms and loss-producing features in various zones and suggest appropriate modifications.

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