Experimental investigations into high-altitude relight of a gas turbine
This thesis describes experiments to investigate high-altitude relight of a lean direct injection (LDI) combustor. The features that make LDI technology less polluting in terms of NOx compared to conventional combustors are expected to impede relight performance. Therefore an improved understanding of ignition behaviour is required to ensure that stringent relight requirements can be satisfied. Realistic operating conditions are simulated in a ground-based test facility. The application of laser diagnostics presents particular difficulties due to the large quantities of liquid fuel that impinge on the combustor walls during relight. Advances are made in the application of planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) to monitor fuel placement in a combustor under these conditions. A novel apparatus is developed to deliver a laser sheet to the combustion chamber while protecting all optical surfaces from contamination. The PLIF images are compared with the cold flow field obtained from CFD modelling. These results indicate that fuel becomes trapped inside the central recirculation zone in high concentrations. High-speed flame imaging performed simultaneously with the PLIF measurements provides important insights into the motion and breakup of flame during relight. An algorithm developed to track the flame activity reveals that the initial spark kernel is convected downstream, before breaking apart and moving upstream towards a recovery origin close to the fuel injector. Analysis of many ignition events has revealed several distinct modes of ignition failure.