Civil air traffic is predicted to further grow in the near future. Hence, the development of aeronautical combustors will face major challenges to meet future stringent environmental regulations. In the present study, an innovative gas turbine combustor with angular air supply called Short Helical Combustor (SHC) is investigated. The main feature of this concept is the helical arrangement of the fuel injectors around the turbine shaft. Aiming at the implementation of a lean-burn concept, a low-swirl lifted flame is adopted. This flame is lifted off and not anchored to the injector which opens the potential of low NOx emissions due to a high degree of premixing within the combustor.
In this work, isothermal flow characteristics of such a generic SHC combustor are studied by use of RANS predictions with special emphasis on the interaction of adjacent low-swirl flows. For evaluating the influence of injector parameters on the flow field, a parametric study based on single sector simulations is performed. It is shown that the asymmetrically confined swirling jet flow is strongly deflected towards the sidewall of the staggered SHC dome. The deflection of the flow is associated with an asymmetric pressure field in the vicinity of the burner which is generally known as Coandă effect. As a consequence of the deflected flow, the angular momentum flux at combustor outlet is increased.
The interaction of the low-swirl jet and the SHC sidewall is investigated with regards to backflow momentum and residence time in the recirculation zone. It is concluded that by modifying the momentum of the air flow through the injector, the amount of recirculating air flowing back along combustor walls is strongly affected. The present work establishes an understanding of the underlying aerodynamics of the SHC concept which is essential for matching the requirements of lean lifted flames.