The occurrence of combustion instability dynamics known, as “screech, howl and growl,” in the combustors of gas turbine engines is a very difficult challenge for engineers. The very high amplitude pressure oscillations caused by combustion dynamics, are not only detrimental to the operation of the engine and combustor, but the difficulty in predicting and remedying these problems can lead to significant costs and delays in engine development. The coupling of the unsteady heat release in the flame with the natural acoustic resonance modes of the combustor duct causes the phenomena of combustion dynamics. To improve our understanding of stability characteristics in such complex systems, encountered in many industrial applications, the flame structure of an atmospheric swirl-stabilized burner, containing dilution and cooling air holes and fed with natural gas fuel, was systematically investigated for various inlet temperatures, pressure drops and air-fuel ratios. Experiments were also designed and conducted with the goal to understand better the phenomena of combustion dynamics that were experienced. More specifically, six acoustic pressure transducers were incorporated in the combustor and in the upstream duct to measure the acoustic field and the acoustic impedance characteristics at specified locations of interest. A one-dimensional wave propagation model is presented to predict the acoustic frequencies and damping of resonance modes, based on the geometry of the test rig, the flow conditions, and the acoustic impedance characteristics of the terminations of the combustor. This paper will present the acoustic analysis of the test data in the light of the above-mentioned theoretical modeling. The limitations of the current test rig are pointed out and changes in the rig design are discussed for future research.

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