The objective of this study was to obtain instantaneous planar laser induced fluorescence (PLIF) images of OH in a laboratory-scale, gas-turbine combustor (LSGTC) with a pre-mixed, swirl-stabilized, natural gas flame. Instantaneous PLIF images of OH were obtained at each of four operating conditions (high swirl and medium swirl at fuel equivalence ratios of 0.80 and 0.65). Comparison of the instantaneous images illustrates the stochastic nature of the flame structure. Pixel by pixel statistical analysis of each collection of images allowed both mean and standard deviation images to be generated, and analysis at selected locations has allowed probability density functions to be obtained in various regions of the flame structure. PLIF images of OH, along with visual photographs and video recordings, showed a wide variation in flame structure for the different operating conditions. The variations in flame shapes are primarily a result of the effect of the swirl intensity and fuel equivalence ratio. Changes in the airflow rate over an order of magnitude do not seem to affect the visual flame structure in this experiment. Operation at φ = 0.80 produced the most stable flames with both injectors. The flame with the high swirl injector was more coalesced and closer to the injector than with the medium swirl injector. At φ = 0.65, the flame was quite unstable for both swirl injectors. With the medium swirl injector, the flame would oscillate between two different flame structures, one that was more or less attached to the vortex funnel, and one that was lifted well above the vortex funnel. The MS case at φ = 0.65 was at the very edge of the lean flammability limit, and would on occasion extinguish.

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