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Nonlinear hydrodynamic and thermoacoustic oscillations of a bluff-body stabilised turbulent premixed flame

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Lee, CY 
Li, LKB 
Juniper, MP 
Cant, RS 


Turbulent premixed flames often experience thermoacoustic instabilities when the combustion heat release rate is in phase with acoustic pressure fluctuations. Linear methods often assume a priori that oscillations are periodic and occur at a dominant frequency with a fixed amplitude. Such assumptions are not made when using nonlinear analysis. When an oscillation is fully saturated, nonlinear analysis can serve as a useful avenue to reveal flame behaviour far more elaborate than period-one limit cycles, including quasi-periodicity and chaos in hydrodynamically or thermoacoustically self-excited system. In this paper, the behaviour of a bluff-body stabilised turbulent premixed propane/air flame in a model jet-engine afterburner configuration is investigated using computational fluid dynamics. For the frequencies of interest in this investigation, an unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes approach is found to be appropriate. Combustion is represented using a modified laminar flamelet approach with an algebraic closure for the flame surface density. The results are validated by comparison with existing experimental data and with large eddy simulation, and the observed self-excited oscillations in pressure and heat release are studied using methods derived from dynamical systems theory. A systematic analysis is carried out by increasing the equivalence ratio of the reactant stream supplied to the premixed flame. A strong variation in the global flame structure is observed. The flame exhibits a self-excited hydrodynamic oscillation at low equivalence ratios, becomes steady as the equivalence ratio is increased to intermediate values, and again exhibits a self-excited thermoacoustic oscillation at higher equivalence ratios. Rich nonlinear behaviour is observed and the investigation demonstrates that turbulent premixed flames can exhibit complex dynamical behaviour including quasiperiodicity, limit cycles and period-two limit cycles due to the interactions of various physical mechanisms. This has implications in selecting the operating conditions for such flames and for devising proper control strategies for the avoidance of thermoacoustic instability.



flame surface density, nonlinear dynamics theory, thermoacoustic instability, turbulent premixed flames, unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes

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Combustion Theory and Modelling

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Informa UK Limited
The authors would like to acknowledge financial support from the Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award and Rolls-Royce Plc.