Measurements of thermo-acoustic coupling

by Pun, Winston

Abstract (Summary)
The problem of combustion instabilities has existed since the early 1940s, when they were observed during the development of solid and liquid rocket engines. While various engineering solutions have served well in these fields, the problem is revisited in modern gas-turbine engines. The purpose of this work is to provide experimental measurements of laboratory devices that exhibit thermo-acoustic coupling, similar to the interaction observed during combustion instabilities, which will aid in the design and development of stable systems. Possibly the simplest device which exhibits these characteristics is a Rijke tube. An electrical, horizontally mounted, 1 m long version of the original Rijke tube is presented, with measurements taken during unstable and stable operation. An accurate stability boundary with uncertainty is determined for a heater position of x/L = ?, as a function of mass flow rate and heater power. Hysteresis, not previously reported, is observed at flow rates above 3 g/s. A one-dimensional model of the stability boundary with linear acoustics is shown to have qualitative agreement with experimental data. A novel technique has also been devised which can provide insight into the local dynamic response of a flame to an acoustic field. In the experiments, a test chamber is acoustically excited by a pair of low-frequency drivers. The response of the flame is visualized by two techniques; chemiluminescence and planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) of the hydroxyl (OH) radical, both of which are well-known indicators for heat release in flames. The resulting images are phase-resolved and averaged to yield a qualitative picture of the fluctuation of the heat release. The images are correlated with a pressure transducer near the flame, which allows stability to be evaluated using Rayleigh?s criterion and a combustion response function. This is the first known measurement of the combustion dynamics of a flame over a range of frequencies. Results indicate that the drive frequency and burner configuration have a pronounced effect on the response of the flame. Drive frequencies ranging from 22 Hz to 55 Hz are applied to the jet mixed burner, supplied with a premixed 50/50 mixture of methane and carbon dioxide at a Reynolds number of 20,000. The burner is operated in two configurations; with an aerodynamically stabilized flame and with a flame stabilized by two protruding bluff-bodies. Results indicate that in general the bluff-body stabilized flame is less sensitive to chamber acoustic excitation.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Professor F.E.C Culick; Professor M. Gharib; Professor M. Hunt; Professor R. Murray

School:California Institute of Technology

School Location:USA - California

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:mechanical engineering


Date of Publication:05/24/2001

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