Abstract

Combustion instabilities in annular combustors of jet engines is a recurring issue. In the present study, the characteristics of instabilities for different fuels are investigated by combining the instability maps obtained in an annular combustor equipped with multiple swirling spray injectors (MICCA-Spray) and flame describing functions (FDFs) from a single sector configuration (SICCA-Spray). Two types of liquid fuels are injected as hollow cone sprays: heptane, which is fairly volatile, and dodecane, which is less volatile. Experiments are also conducted with gaseous propane, perfectly premixed with air, which serves as a reference. An instability map is systematically drawn by varying the global equivalence ratio and thermal power. The data indicate that the amplitude and frequency of instabilities depend, for the same operating point, on the fuel injection conditions (premixed or spray) and fuel type. Overall trends show that premixed propane is unstable in a broad operating domain. Injection of liquid fuels induces changes in time lag that modify the unstable regions. For heptane the instability map is closer to the propane reference map whereas dodecane exhibits wider stable regions. Variations can also be observed in the behavior of spin ratio that characterizes the azimuthal structure of the coupling mode. An attempt is made to understand these features by examining the FDF, which gives the ratio of relative fluctuations in heat release rate to the relative fluctuations in velocity. The FDFs measured in a single sector configuration gives access to gain and phase information that can be used to determine unstable bands. It is found that based on whether the MICCA-Spray instability frequency is within these bands, the instability amplitude can be high or low. This indicates that the difference in instabilities between the three fuels can be linked to the variations in FDFs.

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