In order to reduce NOx emissions, modern gas turbines are often equipped with lean burn combustion systems, where the engine operates near the lean blow-out limits. One of the most critical issues of lean combustion technology is the onset of combustion instabilities related to a coupling between pressure oscillations and thermal fluctuations excited by the unsteady heat release. In this work a thermoacoustic analysis of a full annular combustor developed by AVIO is discussed. The system is equipped with an advanced PERM (Partially Evaporating and Rapid Mixing) injection system based on a piloted lean burn spray flame generated by a pre-filming atomizer. Combustor walls are based on multi-perforated liners to control metal temperature: these devices are also recognized as very effective sound absorbers, thus in innovative lean combustors they could represent a good means both for wall cooling and damping combustion instabilities. The performed analysis is based on the resolution of the eigenvalue problem related to an inhomogeneous wave equation which includes a source term representing heat release fluctuations (the so called Flame Transfer Function, FTF) in the flame region using a three-dimensional FEM code. A model representing the entire combustor was assembled including all the acoustically relevant geometrical features. In particular, the acoustic effect of multi-perforated liners was introduced by modeling the corresponding surfaces with an equivalent internal impedance. Different simulations with and without the presence of the flame were performed analyzing the influence of the multi-perforated liners. Furthermore, different modeling approaches for the FTF were examined and compared with each other. Comparisons with available experimental data showed a good agreement in terms of resonant frequencies in the case of passive simulations. On the other hand, when the presence of the flame is considered, comparisons with experiments showed the inadequacy of FTFs commonly used for premixed combustion and thus the necessity of an improved FTF, more suitable for liquid fueled gas turbines where the evaporation process could play an important role in the flame heat release fluctuations.

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