In the context of lean premixed combustion, the prevention of upstream flame propagation in the premixing zone, referred to as flashback (FB), is a crucial challenge related to the application of hydrogen as a fuel for gas turbines. The location of flame anchoring and its impact on FB tendencies in a technically premixed, swirl-stabilized hydrogen burner are investigated experimentally at atmospheric pressure conditions using planar laser-induced fluorescence of hydroxyl radicals (OH-PLIF). The inlet conditions are systematically varied with respect to equivalence ratio (ϕ=0.21.0), bulk air velocity u0 = 30–90 m/s, and burner preheat temperature ranging from 300 K to 700 K. The burner is mounted in an atmospheric combustion test rig, firing at a power of up to 220 kW into a 105 mm diameter quartz cylinder, which provides optical access to the flame region. The experiments were performed using an in-house burner design that previously proved to be highly resistant against FB occurrence by applying the axial air injection strategy. Axial air injection constitutes a nonswirling air jet on the central axis of the radial swirl generator. While a high rate of axial air injection yields excellent FB resistance, reduced rates of air injection are utilized to trigger FB, which allowed to investigate the near FB flame behavior. Results show that both, fuel momentum of hydrogen and axial air injection, alter the isothermal flow field as they cause a downstream shift of vortex breakdown and, thus, the axial flame front location. Such a shift is proven beneficial for FB resistance from the recorded FB limits. This effect was quantified by applying an edge detection algorithm to the OH-PLIF images, in order to extract the location of maximum flame front probability xF. By these means, it was revealed that for hydrogen xF is shifted downstream with increasing equivalence ratio due to the added momentum of the fuel flow, superseding any parallel augmentation in the turbulent flame speed. The parameter xF is identified to be governed by J, the momentum ratio between fuel and air flow, over a wide range of inlet conditions. These results contribute to the understanding of the sensitivity of FB to changes in the flow field, stemming from geometry changes or specific fuel properties.

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