A thermo-acoustic stability of a full-annular lean partially-premixed heavy-duty gas turbine combustor is carried out in the present paper. A sensitivity analysis is performed, varying the flame temperature for two operating conditions.

The complex interaction between the system acoustics and the turbulent flame is studied in Ansys Fluent, using Unsteady-RANS simulations with Flamelet-Generated Manifolds combustion model. Perturbations are introduced in the system imposing a broadband excitation as inlet boundary condition. The flame response is then computed exploiting system identification techniques. The identified flame transfer functions are compared each other and the results analysed in order to give more physical insight on the coupling mechanisms responsible for the flame dynamic response.

The effect of fuel mass flow fluctuations is then introduced as further driving input, describing the flame as a Multi-Input Single-Output system. Further in-depth studies are carried out on pilot flames aiming at replicating the dynamic response of the real flame and understanding the driving mechanism of thermo-acoustic instability onset as well.

The obtained results are implemented into a finite element model of the combustor, realized in COMSOL Multiphysics, to analyse the system stability.

Numerical model affordability has been assessed through comparisons with results from full-annular combustor experimental campaign carried out by GE Oil & Gas since the early phases of the design and development of a heavy-duty gas turbine. This allowed the discussion of the model ability to describe the stability properties of the combustor and to catch the instabilities onset as detected experimentally.

Valuable indications for future design optimization were also identified thanks to the obtained results.

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