Advanced thermoacoustic analysis is now routinely used in gas turbine combustor development. A thermoacoustic approach based on a combination of numerical analysis (CFD and three-dimensional acoustics), acoustic network models and dedicated measurements of acoustic flame response is well accepted across the industry. However, its application to specific combustor upgrade or development programs in “prediction mode” as opposed to “analysis mode” remains a challenge. This is mainly due to the large sensitivity of the complex methodology to key inputs, such as flame transfer functions, that can be only predicted in the burner design phase. This paper discusses an example where we made an effort to apply the thermoacoustic approach in predictive mode. The example refers to the upgrade of a first generation diffusion burner with a partially premix burner to achieve low emissions. Thermoacoustic instabilities were predicted as a limiting factor for combustor operation and thus a design parameter was identified to perform the thermoacoustic combustor tuning at engine level. A particular challenge of this development program was that no test rig was available. Therefore, the new premix burner was directly installed into a field engine where it was successfully tested.

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