Self-excited periodic instabilities in a staged lean burn injector could be forced by operating the combustor at off-design conditions. These pressure oscillations were studied in a high pressure single sector combustor with optical access. Two damper configurations were installed and tested with respect to their damping efficiency in relation to the configuration without dampers.

For a variety of test conditions, derived from a part load case, time traces of pressure in the combustor were measured, and amplitudes were derived from their Fourier transformation. These measurements were performed for several combinations of the operating parameters, i.e., injector pressure drop, air/fuel ratio, pilot/main fuel split and preheat temperature. These tests “ranked” the respective damper configurations and their individual efficiency with respect to the configuration without dampers. Although a general trend could be observed, the ranking was not strictly consistent for all operating conditions.

For several test cases, preferably with pronounced self-excited pressure oscillations, phase-resolved planar optical measurement techniques were applied to investigate the change of spatial structures of fuel, reaction zones and temperature distributions over a period of an oscillation. A pulsating motion was detected for both pilot and main flame, driven by a pulsating transport of the liquid fuel. This pulsation, in turn, is caused by a fluctuating air velocity, in connection with a prefilming airblast type atomizer. A phase shift between pilot and main injector heat release was observed, corresponding to a shift of fuel penetration.

Local Rayleigh indices were calculated qualitatively, based on phase-resolved OH chemiluminescence used as marker for heat release, and corresponding pressure values. This identified regions, where a local amplification of pressure oscillations occurred. These regions were largely identical to the reaction regions of pilot and main injector, whereas the recirculation zone between the injector flows was found to exhibit a damping effect.

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