Modern low emission combustion systems are more prone to combustion instabilities due to operation at lean conditions. The response of the airflow passing through the injector to incident acoustic waves is therefore of interest. Airflow fluctuations can initiate, for example, perturbations in stoichiometry and velocity that are subsequently delivered into the heat release region. In the case of liquid fuelled gas turbines the atomisation process will also be affected. Such effects can lead to further unsteady heat release and the generation of acoustic waves, thereby leading to combustion instability. This paper describes experimental measurements and the development of a numerical methodology by which the unsteady airflow response of complex, modern, low emission fuel injectors can be characterised.
Single and two passage injector configurations have been investigated which broadly capture many of the features associated with modern fuel injectors. Although targeted at low emission (lean burn) liquid fuelled injector geometries, the methodology developed is thought applicable to a wide range of injector configurations. Initially experimental measurements were used to characterise the overall acoustic impedance of each injector design over a range of frequencies. Such information is also required for the low order thermo-acoustic network models, as typically used in the design process, to predict the stability of the combustion system. In addition to the experimental measurements a methodology was developed using unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) simulations in which acoustic boundary conditions were implemented to reproduce the experimental scenarios. Interrogation of the pressure field enabled similar data analysis techniques to be applied to the numerical data for determining the injector acoustic characteristics. Fidelity of the numerical simulations is confirmed by the excellent agreement between the experimental data and numerical simulations. Furthermore, the unsteady flow field within the passages is difficult to access experimentally, but can be examined in more detail from the simulation results. In this way an improved understanding of the passage flows and their individual responses to the incident acoustic pressure waves can be obtained. The numerical approach is aimed at providing a computationally efficient and economic tool for predicting the acoustic characteristics of the complex geometries typical of modern fuel injector designs. Using this tool injector designs with different acoustic response characteristics can be developed relatively quickly.