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Kypraiou, Anna-Maria 


This thesis describes an experimental investigation of the response of lean turbulent swirling flames with different degrees of premixedness (i.e. different mixture patterns) to acoustic forcing using the same burner configuration and varying only the fuel injection strategy. Special emphasis was placed on the amplitude dependence of their response. Also, the behaviour of self-excited fully premixed flames was examined. kHz OH* chemiluminescence was used to study qualitatively the heat release response of the flames, while kHz OH Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) was employed to understand the response of the flame structure and the behaviour of the various parts of the flame. The Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) method was used to extract the dominant structures of the flame and their periodicity.

In the first part of the thesis, self-excited oscillations were induced by extending the length of the duct downstream of the bluff body. It was found that the longer the duct length and the higher the equivalence ratio, the stronger the self-excited oscillations were, with the effect of duct length being much stronger. The dominant frequencies of the system were found to increase with equivalence ratio and bulk velocity and decrease with duct length. For some conditions, three simultaneous periodic motions were observed, where the third motion oscillated at a frequency equal to the difference of the other two frequencies. A novel application of the POD method was proposed to estimate the convection velocity from the most dominant reaction zone structures detected by OH* chemiluminescence imaging. For a range of conditions, the convection velocity was found to be in the range of 1.4-1.7 bulk flow velocities at the inlet of the combustor.

In the second part, the response of fully premixed, non-premixed with radial fuel injection (NPR) and axial fuel injection (NPA) flames was investigated and compared. All systems exhibited a nonlinear response to acoustic forcing. The highest response was observed by the NPR flame, followed by the fully premixed and the non-premixed with axial fuel injection flame. The proximity of forced flames to blow-off was found to be critical in their heat release response, as close to blow-off the flame response was significantly lower than that farther from blow-off. In the NPR and NPA systems, it was shown that the acoustic forcing reduced the stability of the flame and the stability decreased with the increase in forcing amplitude. In the fully premixed system, the flame area modulations constituted an important mechanism of the system, while in the NPR system both flame area and equivalence ratio modulations were important mechanisms of the heat release modulations. The quantification of the local response of the various parts of the flame at the forcing frequency showed that the ratio 𝑅𝐿 (OH fluctuation at 160 Hz to the total variance of OH) was greater in the inner shear layer region than in the other parts in the case of NPR and NPA flames. In fully premixed flames, greater 𝑅𝐿 values were observed in large regions on the downstream side of the flame than those in the ISL region close to the bluff body. The ratio of the convection velocity to the bulk velocity was estimated to be 0.54 for the NPR flame, while it was found to be unity for the respective fully premixed flame.

In the last part of the thesis, the response of ethanol spray flames to acoustic oscillations was investigated. The nonlinear response was very low, which was reduced closer to blow-off. The ratio 𝑅𝐿 was the highest in the spray outer cone region, downstream of the annular air passage, while 𝑅𝐿 values were very low in the inner cone region, downstream of the bluff body. Unlike NPR and fully premixed flames, in case of spray and NPA systems, it was found that forcing did not affect greatly the flame structure.

The understanding of the nonlinear response of flames with different degrees of premixedness in a configuration relevant to industrial systems contributes to the development of reliable flame response models and lean-burn devices, because the degree of premixedness affects greatly the flame response. Also, the understanding of the behaviour of forced spray flames is of great interest for industrial applications, contributing to the development of thermoacoustic models for liquid fuelled combustors. Finally, the estimation of the convection velocity is of importance in the modelling of self-excited flames and flame response models, since the convection velocity affects the flame response significantly.





Mastorakos, Epaminondas


Thermoacoustics, Acoustic Forcing, Premixed Flames, Non-Premixed Flames, Spray Flames, Blow-off, Two-Microphone Technique, Non-linear Flame Transfer Function, Flame Response, Self-Excited Flames


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge