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Feedback control of oscillations in combustion and cavity flows



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Illingworth, Simon J 


This thesis considers the control of combustion oscillations, motivated by the susceptibility of lean premixed combustion to such oscillations, and the long and expensive development and commissioning times that this is giving rise to. The controller used is both closed-loop, employing an actuator to modify some system parameter in response to a measured signal, and adaptive, meaning that it is able to maintain control over a wide range of operating conditions. The controller is applied to combustion systems with annular geometries, where instabilities can occur both longitudinally and azimuthally, and which require multiple sensors and multiple actuators for control.

One of the requirements of Lyapunov-based adaptive control which is particularly troublesome for combustion systems is then addressed: that the sign of the high-frequency gain of the open-loop system is known. We address it by using an adaptive controller which employs a Nussbaum gain, and successfully apply it experimentally to combustion oscillations in a Rijke tube.

Another type of fluid-acoustic resonance is then considered: the compressible flow past a shallow cavity. We start by finding a linear model of the cavity flow's dynamics, or its `transfer function', which we identify from direct numerical simulations. We compare this measured transfer function to that given by a conceptual model which is based on the Rossiter mechanism, and which models each component of the flow physics separately.

We then look at using closed-loop control to eliminate these cavity oscillations. We start by designing a robust H2 controller based on a balanced reduced order model of the system, the model being provided by the Eigensystem Realization Algorithm (ERA). The robust controller provides closed-loop stability over a much wider Mach number range than seen in previous studies. Finally, we look at the suitability of the adaptive controller, earlier developed for combustion oscillations, for the cavity. Based on some general properties of the cavity flow, and by using collocated control, the oscillations are eliminated at all Mach numbers tested in the range 0.4≤M≤0.8.





Combustion oscillations, Cavity oscillations, Active flow control, Feedback flow control


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
This work was supported by the EPSRC and Rolls-Royce plc.