An aero gas turbine engine has been proposed that uses a near-constant-temperature (NCT) cycle and an Inter-Turbine Burner (ITB) to provide large amounts of power extraction from the low-pressure turbine. This level of energy is achieved with a modest temperature rise across the ITB. The additional energy can be used to power a large geared fan for an ultra-high bypass ratio transport aircraft, or to drive an alternator for large amounts of electrical power extraction. Conventional gas turbines engines cannot drive ultra-large diameter fans without causing excessively high turbine temperatures, and cannot meet high power extraction demands without a loss of engine thrust. Reducing the size of the combustion system is key to make use of a NCT gas turbine cycle. Ultra-compact combustor (UCC) concepts are being explored experimentally. These systems use high swirl in a circumferential cavity about the engine centerline to enhance reaction rates via high cavity g-loading on the order of 3000 g’s. Any increase in reaction rate can be exploited to reduce combustor volume. The UCC design integrates compressor and turbine features which will enable a shorter and potentially less complex gas turbine engine. This paper will present experimental data of the Ultra-Compact Combustor (UCC) performance in vitiated flow. Vitiation levels were varied from 12–20% oxygen levels to simulate exhaust from the high pressure turbine (HPT). Experimental results from the ITB at atmospheric pressure indicate that the combustion system operates at 97–99% combustion efficiency over a wide range of operating conditions burning JP-8 +100 fuel. Flame lengths were extremely short, at about 50% of those seen in conventional systems. A wide range of operation is possible with lean blowout fuel-air ratio limits at 25–50% below the value of current systems. These results are significant because the ITB only requires a small (300°F) temperature rise for optimal power extraction, leading to operation of the ITB at near-lean-blowout limits of conventional combustor designs. This data lays the foundation for the design space required for future engine designs.

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