In a gas turbine engine combustor, performance is likely tied to the spatial distribution of the fuel injected into the dome. The GE/SNECMA CFM56 combustor swirl cup is one example of a design established to provide a uniform presentation of droplets to the dome. The present study is part of a series to detail the dispersion of droplets in practical hardware, and to assess the effect of isolated parameters on the continuous- and dispersed-phase distributions. In this study, the influence of the swirling air outlet geometry is evaluated relative to the effect on the flow field structures and the patterns of droplet dispersion. This is accomplished by comparing the continuous-phase (air in the presence of a spray) and dispersed-phase (droplets) behavior downstream of the swirl cup assembly outfitted with two different conical expansions (“flares”). One features a narrow expansion angle, the other possesses a wide expansion angle. Two-component phase Doppler interferometry was employed to provide the information of droplet size and velocity components as well as continuous-phase velocity components. Photographs of light scattered by droplets from a laser sheet were used for the study of flow field structures. This study reveals that (1) the air stream issued from the narrow flare remains close to the centerline and expands gradually downstream while the air stream issued from the wide flare expands immediately downstream of the swirl cup, and (2) the narrow flare provides weaker droplet dispersion, slower decay of droplet velocities, and finer droplet sizes compared to the wide flare. The results demonstrate that a relatively modest change in flare geometry can create a significant change in the structure of both the continuous and dispersed phases.

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