Unstable thermoacoustic modes were investigated and controlled in an experimental low-emission swirl stabilized combustor, in which the acoustic boundary conditions were modified to obtain combustion instability. Several axisymmetric and helical unstable modes were identified for fully premixed conditions. The combustion structure associated with the different unstable modes was visualized by phase locked images of OH chemiluminescence. The axisymmetric mode showed large variation of the heat release during one cycle, while the helical mode showed variation in the radial location of maximal heat release. The helical and axisymmetric unstable modes were associated with flow instabilities related to the recirculating flow in the wakelike legion on the combustor axis and shear layer instabilities at the sudden expansion (dump plane), respectively. A closed loop active control system was employed to suppress the thermoacoustic pressure oscillations and to reduce undesired emissions of pollutants during premixed combustion. Microphone and OH emission detection sensors were utilized to monitor the combustion process and provide input to the control system. High frequency valves were employed to modulate the fuel injection. The specific design of the investigated experimental burner allowed testing the effect of different modulated fuel injection concepts on the different combustion instability modes. Symmetric and antisymmetric fuel injection schemes were tested. Suppression levels of up to 12 dB in the pressure oscillations were observed. In some cases a concomitant reductions of NOx and CO emissions were obtained, however, in other instances increased emissions were recorded at reduced pressure oscillations. The effect of the various pulsed fuel injection methods on the combustion structure was investigated.

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