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Experimental and Numerical Studies in a Compact Trapped Vortex Combustor: Stability Assessment and Augmentation

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Fundamental studies on a compact trapped vortex combustor indicate that cavity injection strategies play a major role on flame stability. Detailed experiments indicate that blow-out occurs for a certain range of cavity air flow velocities. An unsteady RANS-based reacting flow simulation tool has been utilized to study the basic dynamics of cavity vortex for various flow conditions. The phenomenon of flame blow-out at certain intermediate cavity air velocities is explained on the basis of transition from a cavity-stabilized mode to an opposed flow stagnation mode. A novel strategy is proposed for achieving flame stability at all conditions. This involves using a flow guide vane in the path of the main flow to direct a portion of the main flow into the cavity. This seems to result in a desirable dual vortex structure, i.e., a small clockwise vortex behind the vane and large counterclockwise vortex in the cavity. Experimental results show stable flame at all flow conditions with the flow guide vane, and pressure drop is estimated to be within acceptable limits. Cold flow simulations show self-similar velocity profiles for a range of main inlet velocities, and high reverse velocity ratios (−0.3) are observed. Such a high-velocity ratio in the reverse flow shear layer profile leads to enhanced production of turbulence imperative to compact combustors. Reacting flow simulations show even higher reverse velocity ratios (above −0.7) due to flow acceleration. The flame is observed to be stable, even though minor shear layer oscillations are present in the form of vortex shedding. Self-similarity is also observed in reacting flow temperature profiles at combustor exit over the entire range of the mainstream velocity. This indicates that the present configuration holds a promise of delivering robust performance invariant of the flow operating conditions.
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Keywords: Modified eddy dissipation concept; Trapped vortex combustor; Turbulent reacting flow; Unsteady simulations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Combustion and Spray Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering,Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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