Mode Transition and Intermittency in an Acoustically Uncoupled Lean Premixed Swirl-Stabilized Combustor

Zachary A. LaBry, Soufien Taamallah, Gaurav Kewlani, Santosh J. Shanbhogue, Ahmed F. Ghoniem

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations


The prediction of dynamic instability remains an open and important issue in the development of gas turbine systems, particularly those constrained by emissions limitations. The existence and characteristics of dynamic instability are known to be functions of combustor geometry, flow conditions, and combustion parameters, but the form of dependence is not well understood. By modifying the acoustic boundary conditions, changes in flame and flow structure due to inlet parameters can be studied independent of the acoustic modes with which they couple. This paper examines the effect of equivalence ratio on the flame macrostructure — the relationship between the turbulent flame brush and the dominant flow structures — in an acoustically uncoupled environment. The flame brush is measured using CH* chemiluminescence, and the flow is interrogated using two-dimensional particle image velocimetry. We examine a range of equivalence ratios spanning three distinct macrostructures. The first macrostructure (ϕ = 0.550) is characterized by a diffuse flame brush confined to the interior of the inner recirculation zone. We observe a conical flame in the inner shear layer, continuing along the wall shear layer in the second macrostructure (ϕ = 0.600). The third macrostructure exhibits the same flame brush as the second, with an additional flame brush in the outer shear layer (ϕ = 0.650). Between the second and third macrostructures, we observe a regime in which the flame brush transitions intermittently between the two structures. We use dynamic mode decomposition on the PIV data to show that this transition event, which we call flickering, is linked to vorticity generated by the intermittent expansion of the outer recirculation zone as the flame jumps in and out of the outer shear layer. In a companion paper, we show how the macrostructures described in this paper are linked with dynamic instability [1].
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVolume 4B: Combustion, Fuels and Emissions
PublisherASME International
ISBN (Print)9780791845691
StatePublished - Sep 18 2014
Externally publishedYes


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