Effects of Combustor Geometry on the Flowfields and Flame Properties of A Low-Swirl Injector
The Low-swirl injector (LSI) is a novel dry-low NOx combustion method that is being developed for gas turbines to burn a variety of gaseous fuels including natural gas, low-Btu fuels, syngases and hydrogen. Its basic principle is described by a top level analytical model that relates the flame position to the flowfield similarity parameters and the turbulent flame speed correlation. The model was based on experimental measurements in open laboratory flames. It has been useful for guiding hardware development. As the LSI is being adapted to different engine configurations, one open question is how the combustor geometry and size affect its basic operating principle. The objective of this paper is to investigate these effects by conducting Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements in open and enclosed flames produced by a 6.35 cm diameter LSI using two quartz cylinders of 15.5 and 20 cm diameter to simulate the combustor casing. Results from 18 methane-air flames show that the enclosures do not alter the flame properties or the nearfield flow structures. The differences occur mostly in the farfield where the tighter enclosure deters the formation of a weak recirculation zone. The enclosure effects on hydrogen and hydrogen-methane flames were studies using the 20 cm cylinder. The results show that the outer recirculation zone generated at the corner of the dump plane promotes the formation of attached flames. However, the properties and nearfield flow features of the attached flames are similar to those of the lifted flames. At higher stoichiometries, the attached flame collapses to form a compact disc shaped flame that has very different flowfield structures. These results show that the enclosure effects on the LSI are strongly coupled to the fuel type and dump plane geometry but are less dependent on the enclosure size. These observations will provide the basis for developing computational methods that can be used as design tools for LSI adaptation.