Systematic Prediction and Parametric Characterization of Thermo-Acoustic Instabilities in Premixed Gas Turbine Combustors
This thesis describes the coincident prediction and observation of thermo-acoustic instabilities in a turbulent, swirl-stabilized research combustor using a stability model constructed from validated reduced-order component models. The component models included the acoustic response to flame heat release rate at various locations in the combustor, the turbulent diffusion of uneven fuel-air mixing, and the flame's response to perturbations in both inlet velocity and equivalence ratio. These elements are closed in a system-level model to reflect their natural dynamic coupling and assessed with linear stability criteria. The results include the empirical validation of each of the component models and limited validation of the total closed-loop model with a lean premixed gaseous fuel combustor not dissimilar to an industrial burner. The degree of agreement between the predictions and the measurements encourages the conclusion that the reduced-order technique described herein not only includes the relevant physics, but has characterized them with sufficient acuracy to be the basis for design techniques for the passive avoidance of thermo-acoustic instabilities.