The most straightforward way to assess the thermoacoustic stability of a combustion system is based on modal approaches. The modes are typically computed from linearized equations in the frequency domain, such as the Helmholtz equation. Due to the linear character, nonlinear saturation effects cannot be computed with such models. Flame describing functions have been suggested to fill this gap. They describe the flame response in an amplitude-dependent manner and have been successfully used in recent work for the prediction of limit-cycle amplitudes in single-burner systems and annular combustors.
This paper presents a more efficient approach of computing limit-cycle amplitudes of spinning thermoacoustic modes in an annular combustion chamber. As one important feature, adjoint perturbation theory is utilized for the solution of the thermoacoustic Helmholtz equation associated with a flame describing function. This avoids iterations over different amplitude levels to find the limit cycle amplitude, i.e., the amplitude level at which the modal growth rate is zero, as required in previous approaches. Moreover, based on the discrete rotational symmetry of the system, the computation is also accelerated by means of Bloch-wave theory, which reduces computations for annular combustors to a single burner/flame segment.
Results for a generic model and a laboratory-scale annular combustion system are presented and discussed.