Flame flashback from the combustion chamber to the premixing section is a major operability issue when using high H2 content fuels in lean premixed combustors. Depending on the flow-field in the combustor, flashback can be triggered by different mechanisms. In this work, three flashback mechanisms of H2/CH4 mixtures were visualized in an atmospheric variable-swirl burner using high speed OH* chemiluminescence imaging. The H2 mole fraction of the tested fuel mixtures varied between 0.1 and 0.9. The flow-field in the combustor was varied by changing the swirl number from 0.0 to 0.66 and the total air mass-flow rate from 75 to 200 SLPM (standard liters per minute). The following three types of flashback mechanism were observed: Flashback caused by combustion induced vortex breakdown (CIVB) occurred at swirl numbers 0.53 for all of the tested fuel mixtures. Flashback in the boundary layer (BL) and flame propagation in the premixing tube caused by auto-ignition were observed at low swirl numbers and low total air mass-flow rates. The temporal and spatial propagation of the flame in the optical section of the premixing tube during flashback was studied and flashback speed for different mechanisms was estimated. The flame propagation speed during flashback was significantly different for the different mechanisms.

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