Spatially locked vortices in the cavities of a combustor aid in stabilizing the flames. On the other hand, these stationary vortices also restrict the entrainment of the main air into the cavity. For obtaining good performance characteristics in a trapped-vortex combustor, a sufficient amount of fuel and air must be injected directly into the cavity. This paper describes a numerical investigation performed to better understand the entrainment and residence-time characteristics of cavity flows for different cavity and spindle sizes. A third-order-accurate time-dependent Computational Fluid Dynamics with Chemistry (CFDC) code was used for simulating the dynamic flows associated with forebody-spindle-disk geometry. It was found from the non-reacting flow simulations that the drag coefficient decreases with cavity length and that an optimum size exists for achieving a minimum value. These observations support the earlier experimental findings of Little and Whipkey (1979). At the optimum disk location, the vortices inside the cavity and behind the disk are spatially locked. It was also found that for cavity sizes slightly larger than the optimum, even though the vortices are spatially locked, the drag coefficient increases significantly. Entrainment of the main flow was observed to be greater into the smaller-than-optimum cavities. The reacting-flow calculations indicate that the dynamic vortices developed inside the cavity with the injection of fuel and air do not shed, even though the cavity size was determined based on cold-flow conditions.

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