Characterizations of the response of swirling spray flames to flow rate modulations over the entire frequency range remain scarce. This response is addressed here by determining the transfer function of spray flames stabilized on a multi-jet steam-assisted dodecane injector in a turbulent swirling flow confined by a quartz tube. This type of burner is used in some liquid fueled industrial boilers. In the absence of combustion and air flow, a phase Doppler particle analyzer is used to determine the Sauter mean diameter (SMD) of the fuel spray as a function of the atomizing gas to fuel mass flow rate ratio (GLR) injected in the nozzle. For small values of the GLR, the SMD of the generated spray decreases rapidly as the GLR increases. For GLR values above a certain threshold, the SMD reaches a constant value that is independent of the GLR. Transfer functions are measured in this second regime for swirling air flows characterized by a swirl number S = 0.92 that is determined by laser Doppler anemometry. Transfer functions defined as the normalized ratio of OH* or CH* flame chemiluminescence intensity fluctuations divided by the velocity oscillation level measured by laser Doppler velocimetry at the burner outlet are determined as a function of the forcing frequency for a small perturbation level. The response of sooty and non sooty flames at globally lean conditions are examined. Using a set of steady experiments, it is shown that the OH* signal may safely be used to confidently estimate low frequency heat release rate disturbances for both types of flames, but the CH* signal cannot be used in the sooty flame cases. The measured transfer functions of non-sooty spray flames feature many similarities with the transfer function of perfectly premixed swirling flames indicating that their dynamics is also controlled by interference mechanisms that need to be elucidated.

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