Power generation companies have turned to gas turbines as a means to meet the stringent emission requirements set by regulation. The boundary between low emissions and an unstable combustor are narrower than ever. Hence, combustion instabilities have become a major design challenge as combustors are developed to run as lean as possible in order to achieve stringent emissions targets. These combustion instabilities can limit the operational envelope of the machine and are often responsible for damage to the gas turbine. Thus, preventing or controlling such conditions is the main focus of the design community. In order to lower the risk associated with combustion instabilities issues, a proper understanding of the design and acoustics of the combustion system has to be acquired early in the development stage. A damping strategy should be developed to mitigate risk in the event of unacceptably high dynamics. Combustion rig testing is crucial to a new combustor development program. Matching the acoustic environment of the combustion rig and the engine provide valuable insight into future potential combustion dynamics problems in the engine and provides valuable data to assist troubleshooting such issues on the engine. This work illustrates the ability of rig testing to be a valuable design and optimization tool in addressing combustion dynamics. Rig test data was used to successfully optimize subsequent engine combustion dynamics. The effectiveness of a damping system is also illustrated on the combustion test rig.

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