Document Type

PhD diss.

Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Albert Ratner


Reduction of the pollutant emissions is a challenge for the gas turbine industry. A solution to this problem is to employ the low swirl burner which can operate at lower equivalence ratios than a conventional swirl burner. However, flames in the lean regime of combustion are susceptible to flow perturbations and combustion instability. Combustion instability is the coupling between unsteady heat release and combustor acoustic modes where one amplifies the other in a feedback loop. The other method for significantly reducing NOx and CO2 is increasing fuel reactivity, typically done through the addition of hydrogen. This helps to improve the flammability limit and also reduces the pollutants in products by decreasing thermal NOx and reducing CO2 by displacing carbon.

In this work, the flammability limits of a low swirl burner at various operating conditions, is studied and the effect of pressure, bulk velocity, burner shape and percent of hydrogen (added to the fuel) is investigated. Also, the flame structure for these test conditions is measured using OH planar laser induced fluorescence and assessed.

Also, the OH PLIF data is used to calculate Rayleigh index maps and to construct averaged OH PLIF intensity fields at different acoustic excitation frequencies (45-155, and 195Hz). Based on the Rayleigh index maps, two different modes of coupling between the heat release and the pressure fluctuation were observed: the first mode, which occurs at 44Hz and 55Hz, shows coupling to the flame base (due to the bulk velocity) while the second mode shows coupling to the sides of the flame. In the first mode, the flame becomes wider and the flame base moves with the acoustic frequency. In the second mode, imposed pressure oscillations induce vortex shedding in the flame shear layer. These vortices distort the flame front and generate locally compact and sparse flame areas. The local flame structure resulting from these two distinct modes was markedly different.


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Copyright 2012 Majid Emadi