A rich burn/quick mix/lean burn (RQL) combustor concept for reducing pollutant emissions is currently under investigation at the NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC). A numerical study was performed to investigate the chemically reactive flow with liquid spray injection for the RQL combustor. The RQL combustor consists of an airblast atomizer fuel injector, a rich burn section, a converging connecting pipe, a quick mix zone, a diverging connecting pipe and a lean combustion zone. For computational efficiency, the combustor was split into two sub systems, i.e. the fuel nozzle/rich burn section and the quick mix/lean burn section.
The current study investigates the effect of varying the mass flow rate split between the swirler passages for an equivalence ratio of 2.0 on fuel distribution, temperature distribution, and emissions for the fuel nozzle/rich burn section of an RQL combustor. The input conditions used in the study were chosen based on tests completed at LeRC. It is seen that optimizing these parameters can substantially improve combustor performance and reduce combustor emissions. The optimal mass flow rate split for reducing NOx emissions based on the numerical study was the same as found by experiment at LeRC.