Flow oscillations associated with hydrodynamic instabilities comprise a key element of the feedback loop during self-excited combustion driven oscillations. This work is motivated in particular by the question of how to scale thermoacoustic stability results from single nozzle or sector combustors to full scale systems. Specifically, this paper considers the response of non-axisymmetric flames to helical flow disturbances of the form u^iexpimθ where m denotes the helical mode number. This work closely follows prior studies of the response of axisymmetric flames to helical disturbances. In that case, helical modes induce strong flame wrinkling, but only the axisymmetric, m = 0 mode, leads to fluctuations in overall flame surface area and, therefore, heat release. All other helical modes induce local area/heat release fluctuations with azimuthal phase variations that cancel each other out when integrated over all azimuthal angles. However, in the case of mean flame non-axisymmetries, the azimuthal deviations on the mean flame surface inhibit such cancellations and the asymmetric helical modes (m ≠ 0) cause a finite global flame response. In this paper, a theoretical framework for non-axisymmetric flames is developed and used to illustrate how the flame shape influences which helical modes lead to net flame surface area fluctuations. Example results are presented which illustrate the contributions made by these asymmetric helical modes to the global flame response and how this varies with different control parameters such as degree of asymmetry in the mean flame shape or Strouhal number. Thus, significantly different sensitivities may be observed in single and multi-nozzle flames in otherwise identical hardware in flows with strong helical disturbances, if there are significant deviations in time averaged flame shape between the two, particularly if one of the cases is nearly axisymmetric.

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