Hydrodynamic oscillations in gas turbine fuel injectors help to mix the fuel and air but can also contribute to thermoacoustic instability. Small changes to some parts of a fuel injector greatly affect the frequency and amplitude of these oscillations. These regions can be identified efficiently with adjoint-based sensitivity analysis. This is a linear technique that identifies the region of the flow that causes the oscillation, the regions of the flow that are most sensitive to external forcing, and the regions of the flow that, when altered, have most influence on the oscillation. In this paper, we extend this to the flow from a gas turbine’s single stream radial swirler, which has been extensively studied experimentally (GT2008-50278) .
The swirling annular flow enters the combustion chamber and expands to the chamber walls, forming a conical recirculation zone along the centreline and an annular recirculation zone in the upstream corner. In this study, the steady base flow and the stability analysis are calculated at Re 200–3800 based on the mean flow velocity and inlet diameter. The velocity field is similar to that found from experiments and LES, and the local stability results are close to those at higher Re (GT2012-68253) .
All the analyses (experiments, LES, uRANS, local stability, and the global stability in this paper) show that a helical motion develops around the central recirculation zone. This develops into a precessing vortex core. The adjoint-based sensitivity analysis reveals that the frequency and growth rate of the oscillation is dictated by conditions just upstream of the central recirculation zone (the wavemaker region). It also reveals that this oscillation is very receptive to forcing at the sharp edges of the injector. In practical situations, this forcing could arise from an impinging acoustic wave, showing that these edges could be influential in the feedback mechanism that causes thermoacoustic instability.
The analysis also shows how the growth rate and frequency of the oscillation change with either small shape changes of the nozzle, or additional suction or blowing at the walls of the injector. It reveals that the oscillations originate in a very localized region at the entry to the combustion chamber, which lies near the separation point at the outer inlet, and extends to the outlet of the inner pipe. Any scheme designed to control the frequency and amplitude of the oscillation only needs to change the flow in this localized region.
ASME Press, 2015.
ASME Turbo Expo 2015: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition, GT 2015, Montreal, Canada, 15 June 2015 through 19 June 2015