Approximate constant volume combustion (aCVC) is a promising way to achieve a step change in the efficiency of gas turbines. This work investigates a recently proposed approach to implement aCVC in a gas turbine combustion system: shockless explosion combustion (SEC). The new concept overcomes several disadvantages such as sharp pressure transitions, entropy generation due to shock waves, and exergy losses due to kinetic energy which are associated with other aCVC approaches such as pulsed detonation combustion. The combustion is controlled via the fuel/air mixture distribution which is adjusted such that the entire fuel/air volume undergoes a spatially quasi-homogeneous auto-ignition. Accordingly, no shock waves occur and the losses associated with a detonation wave are not present in the proposed system. Instead, a smooth pressure rise is created due to the heat release of the homogeneous combustion. An atmospheric combustion test rig is designed to investigate the auto-ignition behavior of relevant fuels under intermittent operation, currently up to a frequency of 2 Hz. Application of OH*– and dynamic pressure sensors allows for a spatially and time-resolved detection of ignition delay times and locations. Dimethyl ether (DME) is used as fuel since it exhibits reliable auto-ignition already at 920 K mixture temperature and ambient pressure. First, a model-based control algorithm is used to demonstrate that the fuel valve can produce arbitrary fuel profiles in the combustion tube. Next, the control algorithm is used to achieve the desired fuel stratification, resulting in a significant reduction in spatial variance of the auto-ignition delay times. This proves that the control approach is a useful tool for increasing the homogeneity of the auto-ignition.

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