During the development of the BR710 jet engine audible combustor instabilities (termed ‘rumble’) occurred. Amplitudes measured with test cell microphones were up to 130 dB at around 100 Hz. Disturbances of this amplitude are clearly undesirable, even if only present during start-up, and a research program was initiated to eliminate the problem.
Presented here is the methodical and structured approach used to identify, understand, and remove the instability. Some reference is made to theory, which was used for guidance, but the focus of the work is on the research done to find the cause of the problem and to correct it. The investigation followed two separate, but parallel, paths — one looking in detail at individual ‘components of the engine to identify possible involvement in the instability and the other looking at the pressure signals from various parts of a complete engine to help pin-point the source of the disturbance.
The main cause of the BR710 combustor rumble was found to be a self-excited aerodynamic instability arising from the design of the fuel injector head. In the end, minor modifications lead to spray pattern changes which greatly reduced the combustor noise. As a result of this work, new recommendations are made for reducing the risk of combustion instabilities in jet engines.