Flame response to imposed velocity fluctuations is experimentally measured in a single-nozzle turbulent swirling fully-premixed combustor. The flame transfer function is used to quantify the flame's response to imposed velocity fluctuations. Both the gain and phase of the flame transfer function are qualitatively similar for all operating conditions tested. The flame transfer function gain exhibits alternating regions of decreasing gain with increasing forcing frequency followed by regions of increasing gain with increasing forcing frequency. This alternating behavior gives rise to gain extrema. The flame transfer function phase magnitude increases quasi-linearly with increasing forcing frequency. Deviations from the linear behavior occur in the form of inflection points. Within the field, the current understanding is that the flame transfer function gain extrema are caused by the constructive/destructive interference of swirl number fluctuations and vortex shedding. Phase-synchronized images of forced flames are acquired to investigate the presence/importance of swirl number fluctuations, which manifest as fluctuations in the mean flame position and vortex shedding in this combustor. An analysis of phase-synchronized flame images reveals that mean flame position fluctuations are present at forcing frequencies corresponding to flame transfer function gain minima but not at forcing frequencies corresponding to flame transfer function gain maxima. This observation contradicts the understanding that flame transfer function gain maxima are caused by the constructive interference of mean flame position fluctuations and vortex shedding, since mean flame position fluctuations are shown not to exist at flame transfer function gain maxima. Further analysis of phase-synchronized flame images shows that the variation of the mean flame position fluctuation magnitude with forcing frequency follows an inverse trend to the variation of flame transfer function gain with forcing frequency, i.e., when the mean flame position fluctuation magnitude increases, the flame transfer function gain decreases and vice versa. Based on these observations it is concluded that mean flame position fluctuations are a subtractive effect. The physical mechanism through which mean flame position fluctuations decrease flame response is through the interaction of the flame with the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability of the mixing layer in the combustor. When mean flame position fluctuations are large the flame moves closer to the mixing layer and damps the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability due to the increased kinematic viscosity, fluid dilatation, and baroclinic production of vorticity with the opposite sign associated with the high temperature reaction zone.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Fuel Technology
- Aerospace Engineering
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Mechanical Engineering