Propagation characteristics of a detonation wave in an air-breathing Rotating Detonation Combustor (RDC) using natural gas-hydrogen fuel blends is presented in this paper. Short duration (∼up to 6s) experiments were performed on a 152.4mm OD uncooled RDC with two different annulus gap widths (5.08mm and 7.62mm) over a range of equivalence ratios (0.6–1.0) at varying inlet air temperatures (∼65°C-204°C) and natural gas content (up to 15%) with pre-combustion operating pressure slightly above ambient.
It was observed that the RDC, with an annulus gap width of 5.08mm, was inherently unstable when natural gas (NG) was added to the hydrogen fuel while operating at pre-combustion pressures near ambient and at an inlet air temperature of 65°C. Increasing the annulus gap width to 7.62mm improved the stability of the detonation wave at similar temperatures and pressure permitting operation with as much as 5% NG by volume. While observed speeds of the detonation waves were still below theoretical values, an increase in inlet air temperature reduced the variability in wave speed. The frequency analysis thus explored in this study is an effort to quantify detonation instability in an RDC under varying operational envelope. The data presented is relevant towards developing strategies to sustain a stable detonation wave in an RDC using natural gas for land based power generation.