The ultra-compact combustor (UCC) is an innovative combustor system alternative to traditional turbine engine combustors with the potential for engine efficiency improvements with a reduced volume. Historically, the UCC cavity had been configured such that highly centrifugally loaded combustion took place in a recessed circumferential cavity positioned around the outside diameter (OD) of the engine. One of the obstacles with this design was that the combustion products had to migrate radially across the span of a vane while being pushed downstream by a central core flow. This configuration proved difficult to produce a uniform temperature distribution at the first turbine rotor. The present study has taken a different spin on the implementation of circumferential combustion. Namely, it aims to combine the combustion and space saving benefits of the highly centrifugally loaded combustion of the UCC in a new combustor orientation that places the combustor axially upstream of the turbine versus radially outboard. An iterative design approach was used to computationally analyze this new geometry configuration with the goal of fitting within the casing of a JetCat P90RXi. This investigation revealed techniques for implementation of this concept including small-scale combustor centrifugal air loading development, maintaining combustor circumferential swirl, combustion stability, and fuel distribution are reported. The final combustor configuration was manufactured and experimentally tested, validating the computational results. Furthermore, dramatic improvements in the uniformity of the turbine inlet temperature profiles are revealed over historical UCC concepts.

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