Equivalence ratio fluctuations are known to be one of the key factors controlling thermoacoustic stability in lean premixed gas turbine combustors. The mixing and thus the spatio-temporal evolution of these perturbations in the combustor flow is, however, difficult to account for in present low-order modeling approaches. To investigate this mechanism, experiments in an atmospheric combustion test rig are conducted. To assess the importance of equivalence ratio fluctuations in the present case, flame transfer functions for different injection positions are measured. By adding known perturbations in the fuel flow using a solenoid valve, the influence of equivalence ratio oscillations on the heat release rate is investigated. The spatially and temporally resolved equivalence ratio fluctuations in the reaction zone are measured using two optical chemiluminescence signals, captured with an intensified camera. A steady calibration measurement allows for the quantitative assessment of the equivalence ratio fluctuations in the flame. This information is used to obtain a mixing transfer function, which relates fluctuations in the fuel flow to corresponding fluctuations in the equivalence ratio of the flame. The current study focuses on the measurement of the global, spatially integrated, transfer function for equivalence ratio fluctuations and the corresponding modeling. In addition, the spatially resolved mixing transfer function is shown and discussed. The global mixing transfer function reveals that despite the good spatial mixing quality of the investigated generic burner, the ability to damp temporal fluctuations at low frequencies is rather poor. It is shown that the equivalence ratio fluctuations are the governing heat release rate oscillation response mechanism for this burner in the low-frequency regime. The global transfer function for equivalence ratio fluctuations derived from the measurements is characterized by a pronounced low-pass characteristic, which is in good agreement with the presented convection–diffusion mixing model.

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