An experimental investigation was conducted to characterize the flame structures and dynamics at stable and near-lean blowout (LBO) conditions. The current experiments were carried out using a laboratory-scale aero-combustor with an internally-staged dome. The internally-staged injector consisted of pilot and main swirlers, and the pilot swirler was fueled with Chinese kerosene RP-3 while the main injector was chocked. The resulting spray flame was confined within a quartz tube under atmosphere pressure. In the present study, the influence of swirl intensity of the pilot swirler was also investiagted. The OH* chemiluminescence of the flame was recorded by a high-speed camera at a frequency of 2000 Hz. From the high-speed OH* images, the reaction zone was marked and the fluctuation of the reaction zone along axial direction was observed, showing that it became stronger at near-LBO condition than at stable condition. Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) analysis was further used to provide insights into the characteristics of flame dynamics. Based on the POD results, the difference of the flame dynamics between the stable and near-LBO combustion was distinct. While the major Mode l of the flame under stable condition was rotation representing the rotation motion in the swirl flame, at near-LBO condition the flame dynamics included three modes — vibration, rotation, and flame shedding. In addition, for swirl-stabilized kerosene spray combustion investigated herein, the fluctuation of the reaction zone in axial direction became stronger with decreasing equivalence ratio when approaching LBO, and the POD analysis indicated that the Mode l of flame dynamics transitions from the rotation mode to the vibration mode. Although the change of pilot swirl number was found to have little influence on the Mode l of flame dynamics, it was noted to vary the fluctuation energy of the flame.

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