Abstract

Premixed or partially premixed swirling flames are widely used in gas turbine applications because of their compactness, high ignition efficiency, low NOx emissions and flame stability. A typical annular combustor consists of about twenty swirling flames which interact (directly/indirectly) with their immediate neighbors. These interactions significantly alter the flow and flame topologies thereby bringing in some discrepancies between the single nozzle (SN) and multi nozzle (MN), ignition, emission, pattern factor and Flame Transfer Functions (FTF) characteristics. Here, we present a detailed experimental study on the behavior of three interacting swirl premixed flames, arranged in-line in an optically accessible hollow cuboid test section, which closely resembles a three-cup sector of an annular gas turbine combustor with very large radius. Multiple configurations with various combinations of swirl levels between the adjacent nozzles and the associated flame and flow topologies have been studied. Spatio-temporal information of the heat release rate obtained from OH* chemiluminescence imaging was used along with the acoustic pressure signatures to compute the Rayleigh index so as to identify the regions within the flame that pumps energy into the self-excited thermoacoustic instability modes. To resolve the flow and reactive species field distributions in the interacting flames, two-dimensional, three component Stereoscopic Particle Image Velocimetry (SPIV) and Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) of hydroxyl radical was applied to all the test conditions. These measurements and corresponding analyses elucidate the structure of the interaction regions, their unique characteristics and possible role in thermoacoustic instability.

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