Swirl-stabilised combustion is one of the most widely used techniques for flame stabilisation, uses ranging from gas turbine combustors to pulverised coal-fired power stations. In gas turbines, lean premixed systems are of especial importance, giving the ability to produce low NOx systems coupled with wide stability limits. The common element is the swirl burner, which depends on the generation of an aerodynamically formed central recirculation zone (CRZ) and which serves to recycle heat and active chemical species to the root of the flame as well as providing low-velocity regions where the flame speed can match the local flow velocity. Enhanced mixing in and around the CRZ is another beneficial feature. The structure of the CRZ and hence that of the associated flames, stabilisation and mixing processes have shown to be extremely complex, three-dimensional and time dependent. The characteristics of the CRZ depend very strongly on the level of swirl (swirl number), burner configuration, type of flow expansion, Reynolds number (i.e. flowrate) and equivalence ratio. Although numerical methods have had some success when compared to experimental results, the models still have difficulties at medium to high swirl levels, with complex geometries and varied equivalence ratios. This study thus focuses on experimental results obtained to characterise the CRZ formed under varied combustion conditions with different geometries and some variation of swirl number in a generic swirl burner. CRZ behaviour has similarities to the equivalent isothermal state, but is strongly dependent on equivalence ratio, with interesting effects occurring with a high-velocity fuel injector. Partial premixing and combustion cause more substantive changes to the CRZ than pure diffusive combustion.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 12, 2010
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