The performance of high shear axial inflow/radial outflow airblast fuel injectors for advanced gas turbine combustors is highly dependent on the design of the swirl vanes. Curved vanes usually exhibit lower losses but straight vanes are also used due to lower cost and ease of manufacture. These type of vanes often operate under highly stalled conditions with high total pressure loss and a highly non-uniform exit velocity profile. This may produce poor fuel atomization with a non-uniform combustor fuel distribution resulting in lowered combustor efficiency and increased pollutant emissions.

Properly designed vanes result in a greatly reduced total pressure loss. The exit velocity distribution is more uniform and higher in magnitude which can result in improved fuel atomization and distribution in the combustor.

The present study investigates two curved swirler/nozzle shroud configurations operating at 1 and 10 atmospheres pressure for the same inlet temperature of 293°K. The first configuration was a twisted curved vane with thickness where the turning angle varied non-linearly from hub to tip with a maximum turning at the tip of 70 degrees. The second configuration was a curved vane with a linear variation of turning with 70 degrees turning at the tip. The results from a three dimensional viscous numerical flow simulation of these configurations shows similar performance for all cases investigated. The non-linear twisted vane however, had an approximately 3% higher mass flow rate than the vane with the linear variation in turning for the same exit static pressure at the hub. One problem which existed for all the conditions analyzed was a high loss region near the vane tip. This was due to the interaction with the shroud. As the flow exits the vane row and progresses along the nozzle outer lip, the flow area increases. This condition along with the streamline curvature effect of the outer nozzle lip causes an adverse pressure gradient to be formed in this region. This adverse pressure gradient causes the flow to separate from the vane suction surface. The problem initiated in the region of 70% span and increased in magnitude to the vane tip.

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