Determination of flame characteristics in a low swirl burner at gas turbine conditions through reaction zone imaging

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Periagaram, Karthik Balasubramanian
Seitzman, Jerry M.
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This thesis explores the effects of operating parameters on the location and shape of lifted flames in a Low Swirl Burner (LSB). In addition, it details the development and analysis of a CH PLIF imaging system for visualizing flames in lean combustion systems. The LSB is studied at atmospheric pressure using LDV and CH PLIF. CH* chemiluminescence is used for high pressure flame imaging. A four-level model of the fluorescing CH system is developed to predict the signal intensity in hydrocarbon flames. Results from imaging an atmospheric pressure laminar flame are used to validate the behavior of the signal intensity as predicted by the model. The results show that the fluorescence signal is greatly reduced at high pressure due to the decreased number of CH molecules and the increased collisional quenching rate. This restricts the use of this technique to increasingly narrow equivalence ratio ranges at high pressures. The limitation is somewhat alleviated by increasing the preheat temperature of the reactant mixture. The signal levels from high hydrogen-content syngas mixtures doped with methane are found to be high enough to make CH PLIF a feasible diagnostic to study such flames. Finally, the model predicts that signal levels are unlikely to be significantly affected by the presence of strain in the flow field, as long as the flames are not close to extinction. The results from the LSB flame investigation reveal that combustor provides reasonably robust flame stabilization at low and moderate values of combustor pressure and reference velocities. However, at very high velocities and pressures, the balance between the reactant velocity and the turbulent flame speed shifts in favor of the former resulting in the flame moving downstream. The extent of this movement is small, but indicates a tendency towards blow off at higher pressures and velocities that may be encountered in real world gas turbine applications. There is an increased tendency of relatively fuel-rich flames to behave like attached flames at high pressure. These results raise interesting questions about turbulent combustion at high pressure as well as provide usable data to gas turbine combustor designers by highlighting potential problems.
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