© 2015 The Combustion Institute. In this paper, we report results from an experimental investigation on transitions in the average flame shape (or microstructure) under acoustically coupled and uncoupled conditions in a 50 kW swirl stabilized combustor. The combustor burns CH4/H2 mixtures at atmospheric pressure and temperature for a fixed Reynolds number of 20,000 and fixed swirl angle. For both cases, essentially four different flame shapes are observed, with the transition between flame shapes occurring at the same equivalence ratio (for the same fuel mixture) irrespective of whether the combustor is acoustically coupled or uncoupled. The transition equivalence ratio depends on the fuel mixture. For the baseline case of pure methane, the combustor is stable close to the blowoff limit and the average flame in this case is stabilized inside the inner recirculation zone. As the equivalence ratio is raised, the combustor transitions to periodic oscillations at a critical equivalence ratio of φ=0.65. If hydrogen is added to the mixture, the same transition occurs at lower equivalence ratios. For all cases that we investigated, flame shapes captured using chemiluminescence imaging show that the transition to harmonic oscillations in the acoustically coupled cases is preceded by the appearance of the flame in the outer recirculation zone. We examine the mechanism associated with the transition of the flame between different shapes and, ultimately, the propagation of the flame into the outer recirculation zone as the equivalence ratio is raised. Using the extinction strain rates for each mixture at different equivalence ratios, we show that these transitions in the flame shape and in the instability (in the coupled case) for different fuel mixtures collapse as a function of a normalized strain rate : κextDU∞. We show that the results as consistent with a mechanism in which the flame must overcome higher strains prevailing in the outer recirculation zone, in order to stabilize there.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Combustion and Flame|
|State||Published - Jan 2016|