While today’s gas turbine (GT) combustion systems are designed for specific fuels there is an urgent demand for fuel-flexible stationary GT combustors capable of burning natural gas as well as hydrogen-rich fuels in future. For the development of a fuel flexible, low-emission, and reliable combustion system a better understanding of the flow field – flame interaction and the flame stabilization mechanism is necessary. For this purpose, a down-scaled staged can combustion system provided with an optical combustion chamber was investigated in a high pressure test rig. Different optical diagnostic methods were used to analyze the combustion behavior with a focus on flame stabilization and to generate a comprehensive set of data for validation of numerical simulation methods (CFD) employed in the industrial design process. For different operating conditions the size and position of the flame zone were visualized by OH* chemiluminescence measurements. Additionally, the exhaust gas emissions (NOx and CO) and the acoustic flame oscillations were monitored. Besides many different operating conditions with natural gas different fuel mixtures of natural gas and hydrogen were investigated in order to characterize the flashback behavior monitored with OH* chemiluminescence. For selected operating conditions detailed laser diagnostic experiments were performed. The main flow field with the inner recirculation zone was measured with two-dimensional particle image velocimetry (PIV) in different measuring planes. One-dimensional laser Raman spectroscopy was successfully applied for the measurement of the major species concentration and the temperature. These results show the variation of the local mixture fraction allowing conclusions to be drawn about the good premix quality. Furthermore, mixing effects of unburnt fuel/air and fully reacted combustion products are studied giving insights into the process of the turbulence-chemistry interaction and reaction progress.

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