Nitric oxide formation in gas turbine combustion depends on four key factors: flame stabilization, heat transfer, fuel–air mixing and combustion instability. The design of modern gas turbine burners requires delicate compromises between fuel efficiency, emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and combustion stability. Burner designs allowing substantial NOx reduction are often prone to combustion oscillations. These oscillations also change the NOx fields. Being able to predict not only the main species field in a burner but also the pollutant and the oscillation levels is now a major challenge for combustion modelling. This must include a realistic treatment of unsteady acoustic phenomena (which create instabilities) and also of heat transfer mechanisms (convection and radiation) which control NOx generation.In this work, large-eddy simulation (LES) is applied to a realistic gas turbine combustion chamber configuration where pure methane is injected through multiple holes in a cone-shaped burner. In addition to a non-reactive simulation, this article presents three reactive simulations and compares them to experimental results. The first reactive simulation neglects effects of cooling air on flame stabilization and heat losses by radiation and convection. The second reactive simulation shows how cooling air and heat transfer affect nitric oxide emissions. Finally, the third reactive simulation shows the effects of combustion instability on nitric oxide emissions. Additionally, the combustion instability is analysed in detail, including the evaluation of the terms in the acoustic energy equation and the identification of the mechanism driving the oscillation.Results confirm that LES of gas turbine combustion requires not only an accurate chemical scheme and realistic heat transfer models but also a proper description of the acoustics in order to predict nitric oxide emissions and pressure oscillation levels simultaneously.
This paper deals with the dynamics of standing and rotating azimuthal thermoacoustic modes in annular combustion chambers. Simultaneous acoustic measurements have been made at multiple circumferential positions in an annular gas turbine combustion chamber. A detailed statistical analysis of the spatial Fourier amplitudes extracted from these data reveals that the acoustic modes are continuously switching between standing, clockwise and counter-clockwise travelling waves. A theoretical framework from which the modal dynamics can be explained is proposed and supported by real gas turbine data. The stochastic differential equations that govern these systems have been derived and used as a basis for system identification of the measured engine data. The model describes the probabilities of the two azimuthal wave components as a function of the random source intensity, the asymmetry in the system and the strength of the thermoacoustic interaction. The solution of the simplified system is in good agreement with experimental observations on a gas turbine combustion chamber.
An experimental method to determine the thermoacoustic properties of a gas turbine combustor using a lean-premixed low emission swirl stabilized burner is presented. To model thermoacoustic oscillations, a combustion system can be described as a network of acoustic elements, representing for example fuel and-air supply, burner and flame, combustor, cooling channels, suitable terminations, etc. For most of these elements, simple analytical models provide an adequate description of their thermoacoustic properties. However, the complex response of burner and flame (involving a three-dimensional flow field, recirculation zones, flow instabilities and heat release) to acoustic perturbations has -at least in a first step -to be determined by experiment. In our approach, we describe the burner as an active acoustical two-port, where the state variables pressure and velocity at the inlet and the outlet of the two port are coupled via a four element transfer matrix. This approach is similar to the "black box" theory in communication engineering. To determine all four transfer matrix coefficients, two test states, which are independent in the state vectors, have to be created. This is achieved by using acoustic excitation by loudspeakers upstream and downstream of the burner, respectively. In addition, the burner might act as an acoustic source, emitting acoustic waves due to an unsteady combustion process. The source characteristics were determined by using a third test state, which again must be independent from the two other state vectors. In application to a full size gas turbine burner, the method's accuracy was tested in a first step without combustion and the results were compared to an analytical model for the burner's acoustic properties. Then the method was used to determine the burner transfer matrix with combustion. An experimental swirl stabilized premixed gas-turbine burner was used for this purpose. The treatment of burners as acoustic two-ports with feedback including a source term and the experimental determination of the burner transfer matrix is novel. NOMENCLATURE
A combined theoretical and experimental analysis of thermoacoustic interaction mechanisms of a lean pre-mixed swirl-stabilized gas turbine burner is presented. A full-scale gas turbine burner has been tested in an atmospheric test rig. The test facility was equipped with loudspeakers to excite the acoustic field and with arrays of microphones to measure the response of the acoustic field to the forcing signal. With this set-up transfer matrices relating the acoustic pressure and velocity on both sides of the flame front have been measured. A laser absorption measurement technique allowed for measurement of the fluctuations of fuel concentration in the mixture. Heat release fluctuations were monitored using a photo-multiplier. The measurement of the acoustic field, heat release and equivalence ratio fluctuations have been measured simultaneously. Special attention has been given to the role of fuel concentration fluctuations in the thermoacoustic interaction mechanism. In order to be able to clearly separate this mechanism from other possible mechanisms, all the experiments have been performed in pre-premixing mode as well. In pre-premixing mode the fuel is injected far upstream of the burner in order to avoid fuel concentration fluctuations at the burner location. This is in contrast with premixing mode where fuel and air are mixed in the burner. An acoustic flame model has been derived. The model includes the well-known interaction mechanism of equivalence ratio fluctuations but also includes a novel mechanism that is caused by fluctuations of vorticity. This latter mechanism relates the turbulent flame speed via turbulence intensity fluctuations to the acoustic field. The idea is that periodic acoustic fluctuations cause periodic changes of the turbulence intensity. The turbulence intensity strongly affects the turbulence flame speed. The fluctuations of the turbulent flame speed result in fluctuations of the heat release. This turbulence intensity fluctuation model has been compared with the measured pre-premix transfer functions and shows an excellent agreement. The measured transfer functions in premix mode have been compared with the model that includes fluctuations of fuel concentration and turbulence intensity. Also in this case a very good agreement is found. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that the phase relation between measured equivalence ratio fluctuation and heat release corresponds to the model.
Thermoacoustic interactions in industrial combustion systems are difficult to model because they involve complex interactions between several physical mechanisms. In order to obtain dynamic models of such systems, a hybrid approach is used: numerical, experimental and analytical techniques are combined to describe the system. The system is modeled as a modular network, where the input–output relation of the modules can be based on analytic models, experimental data or numerical analysis. The modules are represented as state-space realizations. A modal expansion technique is used to obtain a state-space representation of the acoustic propagation through complex 3-dimensional geometries. The modal expansion can be based on an analytic model (for relatively simple volumes), or on a finite element analysis (for geometries of any complexity). Modules that are very complex, such as the acoustic behavior of the combustion process itself, are modeled using a combined experimental and analytic approach. The method is not restricted to symmetries of any kind: configurations with geometrically or operationally different burners are simulated. The state-space network approach allows for time domain simulations, including non-linearities. An active controller has been synthesized for an (hypothetical) annular multi burner combustion system. The controller uses spatial filtering to decompose the acoustic field to its individual modes. The modes are then controlled using an H∞ control algorithm. Time domain simulations of this control system demonstrate the effectiveness of this method, even in the presence of non-linear saturation and parametric errors.
Thermoacoustic transfer functions of a full-scale gas turbine burner operating under full engine pressure have been measured. The excitation of the high-pressure test facility was done using a siren that modulated a part of the combustion airflow. Pulsation probes have been used to record the acoustic response of the system to this excitation. In addition, the flame’s luminescence response was measured by multiple photomultiplier probes and a light spectrometer. Three techniques to obtain the thermoacoustic transfer function are proposed and employed: two acoustic-optical techniques and a purely acoustic technique. The first acoustical-optical technique uses one single optical signal capturing the chemiluminescence intensity of the flame as a measure for the heat release in the flame. This technique only works if heat release fluctuations in the flame have only one generic source, e.g., equivalence ratio or mass flow fluctuations. The second acoustic-optical technique makes use of the different response of the flame’s luminescence at different optical wavelengths bands to acoustic excitation. It also works, if the heat release fluctuations have two contributions, e.g., equivalence ratio and mass flow fluctuation. For the purely acoustic technique, a new method was developed in order to obtain the flame transfer function, burner transfer function, and flame source term from only three pressure transducer signals. The purely acoustic method could be validated by the results obtained from the acoustic-optical techniques. The acoustic and acoustic-optical methods have been compared and a discussion on the benefits and limitations of each is given. The measured transfer functions have been implemented into a nonlinear, three-dimensional, time domain network model of a gas turbine with an annular combustion chamber. The predicted pulsation behavior shows a good agreement with pulsation measurements on a field gas turbine.
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