Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 32 (2006) 93–161 www.elsevier.


A review of oscillation mechanisms and the role of the precessing vortex core (PVC) in swirl combustion systems
Nicholas Syred *
School of Engineering, Cardiff University, Queens Buildings, The Parade, Cardiff, Wales CF24 0YF, UK Received 3 September 2004; accepted 13 October 2005 Available online 19 January 2006

Abstract This paper reviews the occurrence of the precessing vortex core (PVC) and other instabilities, which occur in, swirl combustion systems whilst identifying mechanisms, which allows coupling between the acoustics, combustion and swirling flow dynamics to occur. Initially, the occurrence of the PVC in free and confined isothermal flows is reviewed by describing its occurrence in terms of a Strouhal number and geometric swirl number. Phase locked particle image velocimetry and laser doppler anemometry is then used to describe the three-dimensional flow fields, which are generated when swirling flow is discharged into an open environment. This shows the presence of a rotating and precessing off centred vortex and associated central recirculation zone (CRZ), extending up to one burner exit diameter. The presence of axial radial eddies close to the burner mouth, in and around the CRZ, is clearly shown. Typically one large dominant PV is found, although many harmonics can be present of lower amplitude. The occurrence of these phenomena is very much a function of swirl number and burner geometry. Under combustion conditions the behaviour is more complex, the PVC occurrence and amplitude are also strong functions of mode of fuel entry, equivalence ratio and level of confinement. Axial fuel entry, except at exceptionally weak mixture ratios, often suppresses the vortex core precession. A strong double PVC structure is also found under certain circumstances. Premixed or partially premixed combustion can produce large PVC, similar in structure to that found isothermally: this is attributed to the radial location of the flame front at the swirl burner exit. Provided the flame is prevented from flashing back to the inlets values of Strouhal number for the PVC were excited by w2 compared to the isothermal condition at equivalence ratios around 0.7. Confinement caused this parameter to drop by a factor of three for very weak combustion. Separate work on unconfined swirling flames shows that even when the vortex core precession is suppressed the resulting swirling flames are unstable and tend to wobble in response to minor perturbations in the flow, most importantly close to the burner exit. Another form of instability is shown to be associated with jet precession, often starting at very low or zero swirl numbers. Jet precession is normally associated with special shapes of nozzles, large expansions or bluff bodies and is a different phenomenon to the PVC. Strouhal numbers are shown to be at least an order of magnitude less than those generated by the PVC generated after vortex breakdown. Oscillations and instabilities in swirl combustion systems are illustrated and analysed by consideration of several cases of stable oscillations produced in swirl burner/furnace systems and two where the PVC is suppressed by combustion. The first cases is a low frequency 24 Hz oscillation produced in a 2 MW system whereby the PVC frequency is excited to nearly six times that for the isothermal case due to interaction with system acoustics. Phase locked velocity and temperature measurements show that the flame is initiated close to the burner exit, surrounding the CRZ, but is located inside a ring of higher velocity flow. Downstream the flame has expanded radially past the high velocity region, but does not properly occupy the whole furnace. This allows the flame and
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0360-1285/$ - see front matter q 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.pecs.2005.10.002


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swirling flow to wobble, exciting instability. The next family of oscillations reviewed occur in a 100 kW swirl burner/furnace systems whereby oscillations in the w40 Hz range are excited with flow fields akin to those found in pulsating combustors where the flow is periodically stopped in the limit cycle of oscillation. The phase locked velocity and temperature measurements show a number of mechanisms that can excite oscillation including substantial variations in shape and size of the CRZ during the limit cycle of oscillation, and wobble of the whole flame and flow as shown by negative tangential velocities close to the centre line. Analysis is then made of a high frequency w240 Hz oscillation in the same 100 kW swirl burner/furnace system, this oscillation being caused by minor geometry changes. The flame was shown to not fully occupy the furnace, allowing irregular wobble and precession of the flow and flame to develop, being especially noticeable close to the outer wall. The addition of an exit quarl to the swirl burner is shown to substantially reduce the amplitude of oscillation by eliminating the external recirculation zone (ERZ), reducing flow/flame wobble and variations in the size and shape of the CRZ. The quarl used was designed to largely occupy the space normally taken up by the ERZ. Two gas turbine combustor units firing into chambers are then considered, strong PVCs are developed under isothermal conditions, these are suppressed with premixing in the equivalence number range 0.5–0.75. PVC suppression is attributed to the equivalence ratios used, the burner configuration, location of the flame front and associated combustion aerodynamics. Other work on an industrial premixed gas turbine swirl burner and can showed the formation of strong helical coherent structures for equivalence ratios greater than 0.75. LES studies showed the PVC contributed to instability by triggering the formation of radial axial eddies, generating alternating patterns of rich and lean combustion sufficient to reinforce combustion oscillations via the Rayleigh criteria. Finally, it was concluded that coupling between the acoustics and flame/flow dynamics occurs through a number of mechanisms including wobble/precession of the flow and flame coupled with variations in the size and shape of the CRZ arising from changes in swirl number throughout the limit cycle. Remedial measures are proposed. q 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Swirl combustors; Precessing vortex core (PVC); Reverse flow zones; Oscillation mechanisms

Contents 1. 2. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vortex core and jet precession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1. General characteristics of the PVC under isothermal conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2. Effect of confinement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3. Precessing jets and jet burners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Combustion and the PVC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vortex breakdown, modelling of the PVC and related phenomena, comparison with experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oscillations in swirl burner furnace systems, related systems and associated driving mechanisms . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.1. Driven PVC oscillations in the 2 MW swirl burner/furnace system, 100% axial fuel entry . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.2. Helmholtz and other resonances and vortex wobble /precession in a 100 kW swirl burner/furnace system, partial premixing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.3. Characterisation of high frequency oscillations in a 100 kW swirl burner furnace system, partial premixing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4. Combustion oscillations in a swirl burner combustion chamber systems and suppression of the PVC . . . . 5.4.1. Instabilities generated in industrial premixed gas turbine combustor systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.1. Interaction between the above effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 98 99 103 106 110 126 135 135 140 143 148 149 154 158 159 159 159

3. 4. 5.

6. 7.

1. Introduction The use of swirl-stabilised combustion is widespread, including power station burners, gas turbine combustors, internal combustion engines, refinery and process burners [1]. The mechanisms and benefits of

swirl stabilised combustion are well documented and depend in most instances on the formation of a central toroidal recirculation zone which recirculates heat and active chemical species to the root of the flame, allows flame stabilisation and flame establishment to occur in regions of relative low velocity where flow and the

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Nomenclature A constant in modified Strouhal number for PJ burner B constant in modified Strouhal number for PJ burner CRZ central recirculation zone formed by swirling flow d inlet orifice diameter of precessing jet burner D upstream PJ inlet orifice diameter, mm De exhaust diameter of swirl burner, m Dfe diameter of central exhaust of furnace Do diameter of furnace or confinement vessel, m ERZ external recirculation zone f frequency Iis intensity of oscillation, w/cm2, derived from pressure measurements for the isothermal PVC I intensity of oscillation relative to Iis, the value for the isothermal PVC Isothermal used to describe operation of a swirl combustor without combustion where the unit is fed air at ambient temperature k kinetic energy of turbulence LES large eddy simulation modelling LDA laser Doppler anemometry Lcontract length of contraction nozzle on end of furnace Lf flame length Lfurn length of parallel section of furnace in swirl burner furnace Linlet length of inlet duct to swirl burner furnace LPC lean premixed combustion mair mass flowrate of air NGV nozzle guide vanes in gas turbines ~ p pressure PIV particle image velocimetry PJ precessing jet as characterised at University of Adelaide PVC precessing vortex core Q volumetric flowrate, m3/s QH thermal input, kW r radius, m re exit radius, m ro radius of furnace or confinement, m rs radius of bluff body in exit of Sydney swirl burner, m r* r/ro rms root mean square of a signal RANS reynolds averaged Navier–Stokes modelling Re reynolds number Ri modified richardson number, (1/r)((r/(r) (W2/r))/(U/(r)2 S swirl number, unless stated otherwise, always derived from device geometry, defined as ratio of axial flux of angular momentum to axial flux of axial momentum, non-dimentionalised by the exhaust radius Scr critical swirl number when direction of precession changes Sg swirl number for the Sydney swirl burner— ratio of integrated bulk tangential to primary bulk axial air velocities measured via LDA just above burner exit annulus. The geometric swirl number S is 90% of this value SSN Strouhal number for the Sydney swirl burner, 2frs/Ws Strouhal number the common definition, fDe/ub, is used throughout. ub is derived from the isothermal burner flowrate and is based on the burner exhaust area. Where the original data used the definition fDe3/Q, this has been converted PJ Strouhal fd/ub—one definition of Strouhal number for the PJ nozzle number u axial velocity, m/s ub average bulk burner exit axial velocity, Q outlet area available for flow (isothermal conditions assumed), m/s ub bulk flow velocity through the PJ inlet orifice, m/s. VBD vortex breakdown w tangential velocity at a specific radius r, m/s Ws bulk or average tangential velocity as measured by LDA in exhaust annulus of Sydney swirl burner, m/s x axial distance x0 axial distance from exit of PJ nozzle F equivalence ratio g directional intermittency, % of negative samples in ‘bin’ used to collect velocity samples from LDA 3 turbulence dissipation rate r gas density, m3/kg


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Fig. 1.1. Schematic diagram of processing leading to CRZ formation [1]: (1) tangential velocity profile creates a centrifugal pressure gradient and sub-atmospheric pressure near the central axis; (2) axial decay of tangential velocity causes decay of radial distribution of centrifugal pressure gradient in axial direction; (3) thus, an axial pressure gradient is set up in the central region towards the swirl burner, causing reverse flow.

turbulent flame velocity can be matched, aided by the recirculation of heat and active chemical species [1,2]. These processes are illustrated in Fig. 1.1 and arise as follows: – Swirling flow generates a natural radial pressure gradient due to the term w2/r. – Expansion through a nozzle causes axial decay of tangential velocity and hence radial pressure gradient. – This in turn causes a negative axial pressure gradient to be set up in the vicinity of the axis, which in turn induces reverse flow and the formation of a CRZ. – Where the tangential velocity distribution is of Rankine form [1] (i.e. free/forced vortex combination), the central vortex core can become unstable, giving rise to the PVC phenomena. – The formation of the CRZ is thus dependent on the decay of swirl velocity as swirling flow expands. A typical toroidal recirculation zone formed at the exhaust of a swirl burner is shown in Fig. 1.2 for a swirl number of 1.57 and shows the large bubble of time mean recirculated flow that is formed with here 12% of the flow being recirculated [3].

With confinement this process is modified, the rate of decay of swirl velocity is considerably reduced, hence the size and strength of the CRZ formed [1,2]. This is illustrated by results from a swirl burner furnace system for the combustion of low calorific values gases from carbon black plants [4]. The combustion system is illustrated in Fig. 1.3 and consists of a variable swirl number burner with separate flow controls for axial and tangential premixed air and fuel. This is fired into a refractory lined chamber, the confinement ratio for the swirl burner, Do/De is 2, whilst the Lfurn/Do ratio for the furnace is 2.5. Isothermal velocity results are shown in Figs. 1.4–1.6. The tangential velocity distribution, Fig. 1.4, close to the burner exit at x/DoZ0.11 shows a peak velocity of w17 m/s at r*Z0.55; by x/DoZ0.33 this peak velocity has been maintained whilst moving radially inwards to r*Z0.35. These tangential velocity profiles are then conserved until the end of the furnace. This initial change in tangential velocity profiles induces complex axial velocity profiles and reverse flow zone patterns, Fig. 1.5, and also a PVC close to the burner exhaust. Throughout the furnace a region of forward axial exists on the axis, extending to r*w0.3–0.4. An annular reverse flow zone, centred at

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Fig. 1.2. Stream function distribution at swirl burner exhaust showing typical recirculation zone set up in the exhaust of a swirl burner, isothermal conditions, SZ1.57. PVC is located on boundary of reverse flow zone [3].

Fig. 1.3. Schematic diagram of refractory lined swirl burner furnace system for combustion of low Calorific value gases from carbon black plants [4]: (1) inlet for tangential premixed gas and air; (2) inlet for axial premixed gas and air. Swirl number variation achieved by varying proportions of above. Do/DeZ2.:LfurnZ2.5: air flow rateZ2.85 kg/s: SZ1.36.

r*Z0.5, develops between x/DoZ0.11 and 0.69, virtually disappearing by x/DoZ1, although there is evidence of a weak intermittent zone to the end of the furnace. Associated velocity vectors are shown in Fig. 1.6 and show the development of the annular CRZ. The conservation of swirl velocity and hence, angular momentum along the furnace length causes the PVC formed near the burner exit to be of higher frequency, but lower amplitude, than that formed by a free, unconfined, expansion. Moreover, this conservation of swirl velocity also means that there is potential for the formation of further PVCs in the furnace exit downstream. This is discussed later in Section 2. Despite the advantages of swirl stabilised combustion there is a well known propensity for instability to

Fig. 1.4. Distribution of tangential velocity in system of Fig. 1.3 [4].


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Fig. 1.5. Distribution of axial velocity in system of Fig. 1.3 [4].

develop and again there is an extensive literature in this area [5–19]. Recent focus has been on lean premixed combustion (LPC) as used with many modern gas turbine systems to ensure low NOx emissions. Premixed flames are by nature more susceptible to static and dynamic

Fig. 1.6. Velocity vectors in system of Fig. 1.3 illustrating flow patterns [4].

instabilities due to the lack of inherent damping mechanisms. The resulting absence of diffusive mixing times leaves flames sensitive to acoustic excitation from sound waves with flame response dependent upon the amplitude, frequency and nature of acoustic wave impingement. If conditions are favourable, periodic fluctuations in the heat release will match the natural resonant frequency of one or more of the geometrical components of the combustor, or related natural fluid mechanic mechanisms, resulting in self-excited thermo-acoustic instabilities. The mechanism responsible for the maintenance of limit-cycle heat-driven oscillations was originally proposed by Rayleigh [20] and refers to the relationship between the pressure wave and rate of heat release. This paper discusses natural fluid dynamic and related instabilities, occurring in swirl combustors and related systems, which can excite or increase periodic heat release. A major focus here is the influence of vortex core precession and precessing vortex cores (PVC). The actual mechanism of the coupling effect between the flow/flame dynamics appears to arise from flow instability feeding into unsteady heat release/combustion processes, which then feed instability via coupling with acoustic modes of oscillation and amplification via the Rayleigh criterion. Associated work has shown that in high pressure process plant containing large ductwork runs and cyclone separators low frequency high amplitude pressure oscillations can arise from coupling between natural modes of acoustic oscillation and the vortex core precession (PVC) generated in the cyclone separator, Yazabadi et al. [21,22]. Similarly, Kurosaka [23] has shown that the cooling effect produced by the Ranque–Hilsch tube relies on the presence of strong PVCs, with up to six strong harmonics being readily detectable, typical fundamental frequencies were 2–7 kHz, being a near linear function of inlet velocity. Suppression of the PVC could be achieved by fitting 12 quarter wave damping tubes radially around the circumference of the tube and tuning their frequency to that of the PVC so that they worked in anti phase. It is often difficult to analyse the role of the PVC, its influence on instability and indeed its presence in combustion systems. The occurrence of the PVC is a function of swirl number (S) [1,2], the presence of a CRZ (normally SO0.6–0.7 for vortex breakdown, the PVC and a CRZ to occur [1,2]), as well as the mode of fuel entry, combustor configuration and equivalence ratio. It has been shown that axial fuel entry normally suppresses the PVC amplitude substantially, whilst premixed fuel and air can restore its presence and

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indeed can considerably excite it [2]. This is of course extremely important with premixed and partially premixed combustors. Here again, the effect of confinement ratio on the swirling flow is important as discussed in Section 5. This paper, thus commences with a review of relevant work and then uses recent and new data to analyse the role of the PVC and the associated CRZ, relative to other factors which influence instability in swirl combustion systems. 2. Vortex core and jet precession The concepts to be discussed in this paper are initially best illustrated by reference to the swirl burner shown in Fig. 2.1. This is of simple configuration with two circular inlets firing into a circular chamber, which leads via a sudden contraction to the exhaust, normally 50% of the diameter of the main chamber. The area of the tangential inlets can be varied by removable inserts to give swirl numbers in the range 0.75 upwards. Fuel can be introduced by several methods, including axially along the centre line and premixed with the air by introduction via a premixing system just before the tangential inlets. This device normally produces a central recirculation zone (CRZ) in the exhaust over its operational range giving excellent flame holding capabilities. This burner has been extensively used to describe and illustrate the phenomena of the precessing vortex core (PVC) [18,24–31]. Fig. 2.2(a) and (b) shows PIV images obtained from this device under isothermal conditions, operating with SZ2.6 [29]. Here, a laser sheet fired horizontally close to the exhaust of the burner in the tangential radial plane has illuminated fine oil particles and with a double pulse laser unit

enabled velocity vectors to be derived in the tangential radial direction. The central axis is marked, together with the diameter of the burner exhaust. Fig. 2.2(a) shows the main vortex is displaced from the central axis and is precessing about the central axis of symmetry, here with a frequency of 140 Hz. In this figure, the PIV image is superimposed on top of the phase averaged tangential radial velocity contours obtained from LDA at the same section. The PVC can be seen to generate a central region of negative tangential velocity due to the co-ordinate system used for velocities in this plane. In this type of unit the PVC phenomena persists for about 1–1.5 exit diameters in free air. Fig. 2.2(b) shows another PIV image showing evidence of the presence of a second PVC [30]. A schematic representation of the flow patterns associated with the PVC is shown in Fig. 2.3(a), with a typical periodic signal obtained from a pressure transducer inserted in the burner exhaust flow shown in Fig. 2.3(b) [2]. Normally, the PVC frequency increases quasi-linearly with flowrate. A visualisation of PVC obtained under combustion conditions is shown in Fig. 2.4(a) [30]. Here, 10% of the fuel is injected axially into the burner where it is entrained into a low-pressure region in the PVC centre. The remainder of the natural gas fuel is premixed with the air upstream of the tangential inlets and produces a non-luminous blue flame. This consumes most of the available oxygen and hence the fuel in the PVC burns fuel rich on the PVC boundary as it is starved of oxygen. The structure of the PVC extends to about 1.5 diameters downstream of the burner exit before breaking up. There is evidence from many sources that the PVC is helical in nature [29–33], wrapping itself around the reverse flow zone boundary, as shown in Fig. 2.4(b) [33].

Fig. 2.1. Schematic diagram of generic swirl burner—swirl number adjustable from 0.75 upwards via use of tangential inserts. Exhaust extends backwards into swirl chamber to prevent flashback. Nominal thermal input 100 kW [27–29].


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2.1. General characteristics of the PVC under isothermal conditions For isothermal conditions, the frequency of the PVC can be readily characterised by a Strouhal number and

the swirl number, S [1,2,24,25,32,33]. The Strouhal number is a weak function of Re and asymptotic values have been used for Fig. 2.5 (data has been gathered from many sources, it should be noted that the Strouhal number used on this and subsequent figures, fDe/ub, is

Fig. 2.2. (a) Isothermal PIV instantaneous velocity vector plot just above exit of swirl burner, Fig. 2.1, showing one PVC [30]; (b) isothermal PIV instantaneous velocity vector plot just above exit of swirl burner, Fig. 2.1, showing two PVCs [30].

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Fig. 2.3. Processes associated with the PVC [30]: (a) schematic diagram of the flow patterns; (b) pressure fluctuation against time trace obtained from pressure transducer located at lip of swirl burner, Fig. 2.1.

different by the factor {P/4} to that used in the source data [1,2,21,22,26,32–39], fDe3/Q, to ensure commonality with other literature reviewed). The relationship is clearly a function of burner/swirl flow system configuration. There are a number of effects here; the data from large power station boilers was obtained from largescale systems and indicates a scale effect in that high values of Strouhal number are obtained for low swirl numbers. Strouhal numbers of more than two are produced for Swirl numbers of one. Swirl burners and cyclone combustors with non divergent exhausts with no centre bodies produce data which fit onto the same curve, giving values of Strouhal number of w0.86 for a swirl number of 1. The well known Ijmuiden movable block swirl burner [1,2,39], gives a Strouhal number of

w0.37 for the same swirl number of 1, indicating the unit is not that effective in generating swirling flow. This type of unit also uses a large central fuel injector, and produces CRZ down to low swirl conditions, resulting in the occurrence of a PVC type structure at low swirl levels. These results were obtained with zero or very low fuel jet velocities and thus do not arise from precession of the central fuel jet: this has been confirmed by separate PIV studies [39]. Cyclone dust separators similar values of Strouhal number as for the Ijmuiden movable block swirl generator, indicating that the vortex finder (facing backwards into the cyclone chamber to prevent boundary layer egress of particles into the exhaust) is having deleterious effects on swirl generation and hence, the Strouhal number.


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Fig. 2.4. (a) Visualisation of single PVC with separate axial fuel injection into a premixed flame, swirl burner as Fig. 2.1 [30]; (b) visualisation of helical nature of the PVC from Chanaud [33].

Interesting results have been reported from the group at the University of Sydney where a swirl burner is formed by forcing swirling flow through the thin annulus formed when a large bluff body is inserted into the exhaust of a swirl flow system, Fig. 2.6 [40–45]. Fuel is introduced via a small central jet, which can be of high velocity. This configuration produces extremely complex flows, with the occurrence of multiple recirculation zones due to the interaction of the swirling flow, bluff body and the high velocity central fuel jet. As discussed in [1] this can result in several flame types; work at the international flame research foundation (IFRF), the Netherlands, show that there are at least two main types, the so called Type I flame where a high velocity fuel jet fires through the CRZ, followed by a wide zone of instability as the jet velocity was reduced, finally resulting in a stable, more common, Type II flames. The reported occurrence of precession in this type of burner, Fig. 2.6, is very dependent on the swirl number, central jet velocity and bulk flow velocities [40,41]. Precession is reported down to swirl numbers of 0.28 with high central jet

velocities relative to the bulk inlet velocity, and is associated with precession of the central fuel jet as opposed to a PVC interacting with the outer boundary of the CRZ. As discussed later this form of precession is characterised by values of Strouhal number an order of magnitude less than shown in Fig. 2.5. The persistence of preccessional frequencies to low swirl numbers in the power station burners, Fig. 2.5, arises from the use of large central fuel injectors, bluff body stabilisers, and is differentiated from jet precession by the values of Strouhal number, which indicate PVC form. All the other data from a range of different swirl burners and cyclone combustors lack fuel injectors and large bluff bodies in the exhaust flow [21,22,34–38]. These units only produce PVC signals beyond the normally accepted level of swirl for the formation of a CRZ and vortex breakdown for SO0.5. The Strouhal number data for these units thus collapses to one separate curve, Fig. 2.5, as does that for cyclone separators. The structure of the PVC has been quantified under isothermal conditions using the swirl burner of Fig. 2.1, and LDA techniques whereby the PVC pressure signal is used to phase lock and overlap velocity data to produce the rotating velocity field associated with the PVC, Fig. 2.7(a)–(c) (x/DeZ0.007) and Fig. 2.8(a)–(c) (x/DeZ0.78), SZ1.5 [25]. Three diagrams are shown for the rotating tangential (a), axial (b) and radial velocities (c). Each diagram shows the average rotating velocity field over the full 3608 of the burner. Close to the burner exit, Fig. 2.7(a), the rotating tangential velocity shows considerable variation in the q direction, with a small but significant area of negative tangential velocity near to and around the axis of symmetry, due to the effect of the PVC, this is also shown on Fig. 2.2(a). This is an important effect due to the presence of the PVC and arises from the convention used to designate measured tangential velocities, reference to Fig. 2.2(a) is useful here. High levels of tangential velocity are confined to a banana shaped sector of 1208 close to the outer wall. There is an area of low tangential velocity diametrically opposite to the high velocity region of w8 m/s, reflecting the inlet velocity. The angular position of maximum rotating axial velocity, Fig. 2.7(b), closely matches that of the rotating tangential velocity, indicating that much of the flow leaves the burner in a thin banana shaped segment inclined upwards at an angle of 458. The reverse flow zone has a relatively high axial velocity value of K7 m/s and is displaced substantially from the central axis, extending from r/reZ0 to 0.7 and over a phase angle of 1008. The rotating radial velocity levels,

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Fig. 2.5. Variation of Strouhal number with Swirl number, asymtotic high reynolds number values, data for four distinct groups of devices [1,2,21, 22,25,26,31,34,35,37–39].

Fig. 2.7(c), are somewhat lower than the other two components. Of particular note is the kidney shaped region of negative radial velocity (corresponding to inwards flow), extending from the central axis to r/rew0.77. Correlation of the tangential, axial and radial velocities close to the burner exhaust, Fig. 2.7, shows there is a large PVC present which leads the reverse flow zone by about 90–1008 in phase. These appear to be linked but distinct structures as most of the volume of the PVC is in a region of forward flow. By one exit diameter downstream the flow has nearly returned to axisymmetry, although the PVC and off centred reverse flow zone could still be detected at x/ DeZ0.78, Fig. 2.8(a) and (b). The region of negative tangential velocity has shrunk considerably, although its existence was still well defined. The maximum value of tangential velocity had also decayed from 24 (Fig. 2.7(a)) to 9.5 m/s. Rotating axial velocity levels, Fig. 2.8(b), were also more uniform, although the banana shaped area of flow is still evident for both axial and tangential velocities, although moved by about 2308 in the flow direction. Clearly, as indicated by Fig. 2.4 the PVC and associated structures are helical in nature, having been twisted by w2708 between the

sections shown in Figs. 2.7 and 2.8 (x/DeZ0.07 and 0.78); see also Fig. 2.4(b). Phase locking of the PVC and associated phenomena clearly looses some information and this is illustrated by the two instantaneous PIV images shown in Fig. 2.2, SZ1.7 [30]. Fig. 2.2(b) shows a state where two PVCs can be distinguished, Fig. 2.2(a) shows a state where a single PVC exists. The single PVC dominates this flow, intermittently jumping to a two PVC state. This PIV data has been subsequently analysed to give phase locked axial radial velocity vectors, Fig. 2.9(a) and (b), at two different cross-sections separated by 908. Especially in Fig. 2.9(b), the presence of axial radial eddies can be seen in and on the boundary of the CRZ whilst, Fig. 2.9(a) shows that a phase angle change of 908 causes these eddies to diminish significantly. Other work [2] using water models has shown the existence of axial radial eddies produced by a swirl burner, SZ1.86. Here, the eddies appear to be periodically shed from the end of the CRZ and propagate downstream through the expanding flow, accompanied by large scale motions or flapping of the CRZ and shear layer. Other workers have reported similar phenomena with swirling flames including Roux et al. [45], Masri et al. [42], Syred et al.


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Fig. 2.6. Swirl burner developed by sydney university group [41–44].

[46], but without the presence of the large PVC. Dorrestein [47] found large radial axial eddies on the edge of a swirling flame and attributed large amplitude system oscillations to acoustic coupling with these eddies. 2.2. Effect of confinement The effect of confinement has an extremely important effect upon the PVC and its related instabilities. As discussed by Syred and Dahmen [48], Syred and Beer [2], Gupta et al. [1], confinement can dramatically alter the size and shape of the CRZ and ERZ formed as the swirl burner flow expands into a furnace or combustion vessel. It can also induce weak regions of forward axial flow on the central axis inside

the CRZ [2,46]. Confinement ratio, Do/De, is the dominant factor, the smaller this ratio the larger is the effect. Other important factors include the level of swirl, equivalence ratio and whether or not a quarl or sudden expansion is used on the burner exit. As discussed in Section 1 the CRZ formed by an unconfined swirl burner arises because of the sudden expansion and associated entrainment effects on the edge of the swirling flow [1]. This causes decay in swirl velocity profile, which in turn generates strong radial and axial pressure gradients creating the CRZ. Inevitably, any form of significant confinement will affect this process and alter the size and shape of the CRZ, whilst also normally causing an ERZ to form as the flow sticks to the external wall. As the PVC is closely associated with the boundary of the CRZ confinement has considerable effects as discussed by Fick [30]. Available results are summarised in Fig. 2.10(a) and (b) for isothermal flow in the small 100 kW burner of Fig. 2.1 (unconfined flow) and for confined flow in the swirl burner/furnace system of Fig. 2.10(c). Fig. 2.10(a) shows that for a confinement ratio of 2 (see Fig. 2.10(c)) Strouhal number is scarcely affected by this relatively high level of confinement until a swirl number of about 1.3, when sudden difference occur, more than doubling the unconfined value for SO1.5. This continues up to the maximum swirl number characterised of 4.78. There is still sufficient swirl left in the flow for another vortex breakdown to occur, Fig. 2.10(a), in and just past the exhaust of the furnace, Fig. 2.10(c), creating another, separate PVC (this can be readily observed). Chao et al. [49] reported a similar phenomena finding two natural frequencies in different regions of an undisturbed swirling flow field; a transition region was also found where both instabilities co-existed, as found by Fick [30]. Thus, in the exhaust of the furnace shown in Fig. 2.10(c) a PVC was found whose value of Strouhal number was considerably less than that found in the main furnace just after the burner exit. There was an effect of Reynolds number as especially at low swirl numbers, SZ0.5, the effect did not appear until high flow rates and furnace exit average axial velocities of 12 m/s, SZ0.5 (ReZ48,000). This decreased to 4.5 m/s, for SZ1.5 (ReZ18,000). Fig. 2.10(b) shows the relationships between the various frequencies at high Re. For SO1.7 the effect of confinement is to increase the frequency of the PVC formed in the swirl burner exhaust by w2.1. The PVC then formed in the furnace exhaust has a frequency w30% of that formed just downstream of the burner exhaust. The occurrence of this secondary PVC is unfortunate, as it can easily

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Fig. 2.7. (a) Phase locked tangential velocity contours above swirl burner exit, x/DeZ0.07, burner as Fig. 2.1 [25]; (b) phase locked axial velocity contours above swirl burner exit, x/DeZ0.07, burner as Fig. 2.1 [25]; (c) phase locked radial velocity contours above swirl burner exit, x/DeZ0.07, burner as Fig. 2.1 [25].


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Fig. 2.7 (continued)

become another mechanism for driving instability. Other work on cyclone dust separators has shown that the PVC can travel around bends [21,22]. Thus, where instability is a problem the use of inline exhausts for the burner and furnace/combustion chamber as shown in Fig. 2.10(c) is probably undesirable. Unfortunately, detailed results are only available for a confinement ratio of 2, Do/DeZ2 [30]. Clearly, larger confinement ratios would produce values of Strouhal number somewhat in between those for the unconfined and confined cases shown in Fig. 2.10(a) and (b). Anacleto et al. [50] studied swirling flow with and without combustion in a LPP combustor model as shown in Fig. 2.11 using a number of techniques and a variable angle swirl generator. Swirl vane variation between 0 and 608 could achieved, giving a swirl number range of up to 1.6, whilst a wide range of Re could be covered. Flow passes through the vaned swirler, with an outer diameter of 120 mm, and then is converged to a 50 mm diameter, 110 mm long premixing section, before passing through a 40 mm contraction to the final combustion chamber of

110 mm diameter, Fig. 2.11. The PVC was characterised under isothermal conditions just past the 40 mm contraction, both with and without the final combustion chamber. The Strouhal number is shown as a function of swirl number and Re, Fig. 2.12(a) and the pressure difference, central flow axis to the wall of the 50 mm diameter chamber, Fig. 2.12(b) at a position just past the tip of the fuel injector, Fig. 2.11. In region I for S! 0.5 no PVC is detectable, vortex breakdown occurs in region II with the formation of a PVC. Strouhal numbers then decrease from the initial value with increasing swirl until values of Sw0.9. Subsequent increases in swirl number produces the expected increase in Strouhal number as indicated for other systems in Fig. 2.5. The effect of the final combustion chamber on the PVC is small, Fig. 2.12(a), with the largest deviation occurring for SZ0.88. Thus, the processes determining the formation of the PVC in this system are governed by those occurring in the first 50 mm diameter premixing chamber, Fig. 2.11. The pressure difference curves, Fig. 2.12(b) shows the changes in flow structure occurring with vortex

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Fig. 2.8. (a) Phase locked tangential velocity contours above swirl burner exit, x/DeZ0.78, burner as Fig. 2.1 [25]; (b) phase locked axial velocity contours above swirl burner exit, x/DeZ0.78, burner as Fig. 2.1 [25]; (c) phase locked radial velocity contours above swirl burner exit, x/DeZ0.78, burner as Fig. 2.1 [25].


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Fig. 2.8 (continued)

breakdown between states I and II and II and III. The Strouhal number data for SO0.9 and high Re compares well to the data of Fig. 2.5 and shows isothermal Strouhal numbers just a little higher in value than those produced by many other swirl burners and cyclone combustors. 2.3. Precessing jets and jet burners Studies have carried out at the University of Adelaide on Precessing Jets (PJ) and their application to burners in cement kilns and similar installations [51–60]. Significant advantages in terms of reduced NOx emissions have been shown on gas fired cement kilns and promise is shown when firing pulverised coal [52–54]. The associated fundamental work has included studies of oscillating two-dimensional jets of varying aspect ratios, triangular jets and most relevant to this work oscillating or fluidic jets [51,55]. The relevance to the PVC and swirl instabilities is that there are many similarities in the mechanisms from which the PJ originates and the characteristics of the jets so generated. Fig. 2.13(a) and (b) schematically illustrates

the processes occurring with the PJ [51], with the entire jet precessing about the axis of the system. Fig. 2.13(a) shows a schematic of the processes occurring, whilst Fig. 2.13(b) shows a water model visualisation, obtained via a thin light sheet illuminating the central axial radial plane. The unit consists of a cylindrical chamber with a small axisymetric sharp edged inlet orifice at one end and an exit lip at the other. Flow enters the sharp edged orifice and expands into the chamber where it attaches asymmetrically to the wall, with substantial internal flow recirculation, Fig. 2.13(a). The asymmetry causes the reattaching flow to precess about the axis of the device, producing a precessing exit flow. The lip and large transverse pressure gradients near the outlet together steer the exit flow through a large angle, towards the axis and across the face of the nozzle outlet [51,56]. As a result the PJ entrains large quantities of external fluid, some 5–6.8 that of an equivalent free turbulent jet. Later versions of the PJ nozzle have a centre body located just before the exit, Fig. 2.14, to improve the regularity of the precession. Fig. 2.15 shows phase locked LDA measurement of axial velocity past the PJ nozzle exit at a PJ frequency

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Fig. 2.9. (a) Phase locked PIV image in axial radial plane at exit of swirl burner, Fig. 2.1, plane 155–3358 [30]; (b) phase locked PIV image in axial radial plane at exit of swirl burner, Fig. 2.1, plane 65–2458 [30].


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Fig. 2.10. (a) Variation of Strouhal number with swirl number, isothermal conditions, data for unconfined and confined flow [30]; (b) frequency ratio for the PVC between confined and unconfined states [30]; (c) schematic diagram of swirl burner furnace system, swirl burner as Fig. 2.1 [30]. Inserts are used in the tangential inlets to alter swirl number. DeZ75 mm. Burner exit protrudes backwards into swirl chamber to prevent flashback.

of 7.5 Hz. Flow leaving the PJ nozzle, Fig. 2.15, at x 0 /dZ0.67, assumes a banana or kidney shape region of high velocity, moving downstream the flow has returned to near symmetry by x 0 /dZ1.93. These results

are similar to those obtained with the PVC, Figs. 2.7(b) and 2.8(b). However, in operation the frequency and motion of the PJ is more irregular than the PVC with considerable signal jitter. This lead to several studies produced by a mechanically rotating PJ nozzle where the flow field was much more regular [59,60]. Wong [57] describes a new phase locking technique to analyse the complex motion from conventional non-rotating PJ nozzles using two separate hot wire probes to produce triggering signals for LDA or PIV systems. Earlier phase locked techniques were unable to detect the direction of rotation of the PJ. In this way, different and consistent and parts of the cycle can be phase averaged to obtain detailed velocity maps. Fig. 2.16 shows the general flow characteristics of the PJ analysed by this technique derived from instantaneous PIV, phase, precession direction resolved phase averaged PIV and surface flow visualisations. This shows a number of smaller vortices and structures which the earlier phase locked LDA technique had missed, for instance on the exit nozzle, centre body and in the flow around the precessing jet. Wong [57] also discusses in detail various methods of non-dimensionalising the frequency data from various designs of PJ to produce Strouhal number data. He proposes a modified Strouhal number for PJ systems based on the inlet orifice diameter, d, precessional frequency, bulk flow velocity through the inlet orifice and two constants, A and B, which are representative of system length scales. The derived Strouhal number range from 0.008 to 0.06. This contrasts with previously derived Strouhal number values of w0.001–0.005 [51] using precessional frequency, inlet PJ orifice diameter and corresponding bulk flow velocity (fd/ub). These values are much lower those obtained for the PVC, ranging from 0.2 to 2 or more, although there are differences in definition. In combustion situations, the driving fluid is usually high-pressure gaseous fuel, typically natural gas [52], although pulverised coal versions have been developed [54]. The PJ creates a rapid decay in mean velocity close to the nozzle and generates large-scale flame structures with reduced shear relative to a simple free turbulent jet [56]. As a result, the natural gas initially burns in an oxygen deficient region and produces a flame of excellent stability and high emissivity, unusual for natural gas flames. This enhances radiant heat transfer and can reduce NOx emissions by between 20 and 60% [52,53]. The high entrainment rates ensure that downstream as the large-scale structures breakup, good mixing occurs with good final fuel burnout. Extensive experimental work shows that combustion

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Fig. 2.11. Vaned swirler, prevapourisation and combustion chamber of Acacleto et al. [50].

has little effect on the PJ structure and characteristics as the initial processes which generate the PJ occur upstream of the combustion process. There is parallel here with the work of Ancacleto et al. [50], where the PVC was generated upstream of the combustion process and thus was not affected. 3. Combustion and the PVC Combustion processes make the behaviour and occurrence of the PVC more complex. The form of the PVC and associated flows can be similar to that found in isothermal flows [1,2,26,30,37,38,50]. The use of axial or tangential fuel entry alone [1,2,26,37,38] can suppress the amplitude of the PVC by an order of magnitude or more and its frequency/occurrence becomes a complex function of flow rate, equivalence ration and mode of fuel entry. The PVC occurs more readily with premixed combustion [1,2,30]. The occurrence of the PVC is a very strong function of the position where the flame is radially located and this is highly dependent on the mode of fuel entry. This is illustrated in Fig. 3.1(a)–(c) which summarises three main flame types that can be found with a large 1 MW rated unconfined swirl burner fired on natural gas, SZ 1.86. The burner is schematically shown in Fig. 3.1(d) and has no flashback protection to guard the eight inlets. The first flame [2], Fig. 3.1(a), shows a result with premixed air and natural gas where the flame is actually located in the air/fuel inlets and the PVC is considerably excited in frequency and amplitude. This is an extreme result from a large unconfined flame where the premixed flame has flashed back to the eight slit tangential inlets through which the air/natural gas is fired. The flame is thus mainly contained inside the burner and is extremely noisy. A strong PVC signal was readily seen and the results for a range of f are shown

for Strouhal numbers as a function of Re, Fig. 3.2(a). Flame extinction occurred beyond fw0.68. The highest excitation of the PVC frequency occurred for fw0.68 producing a value of Strouhal number increased by a factor of 4 on the isothermal result. This effect steadily decreases for reducing equivalence ratios. Simple calculations indicate that this Strouhal number increase can be described if allowance is made for the acceleration of the gases due to combustion in

Fig. 2.12. Effect of Swirl Number on Strouhal Number and Pressure Drop Parameter [50].


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Fig. 2.13. (a) Schematic of processes occurring in the PJ burner [51]; (b) water model visualisation via an axial radial slit light of the processes occurring in the PJ burner [51].

the tangential inlets as the value for bulk velocity, ub, in the Strouhal number is based on the isothermal flowrate. This premixed condition is unusual and normally undesirable as considerable overheating and distortion of the inlets can occur. Reference to Figs. 2.1 and 2.10(c) shows that an extension to the exhaust nozzle is normally fitted to prevent flashback. This produces very different flames, which are now primarily stabilised downstream in the exhaust nozzle. Fig. 3.1(b) shows the type of flame produced by axial fuel injection in the same large burner; here the main part of the flame is located downstream of the burner exit, but parts of the flame surrounding the CRZ extend

Fig. 2.14. Improved version of the PJ burner with centre body [56].

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Fig. 2.15. Phase locked LDA axial velocity contours in exhaust of PJ burner [56].

back into the burner mouth and indeed right down to the burner back plate, as a thin tulip shaped column. Similar flames are produced with axial fuel injection by the burners of Figs. 2.1 and 2.10(c). The PVC amplitude is nearly always suppressed by at least an order of magnitude compared to the isothermal state (until very small equivalence ratios [2,61]). Fig. 3.1(c) shows another flame produced by tangential fuel entry with the flame located at an intermediate radial position between that shown for the flames of Fig. 3.1(a) and (b). Again, the PVC amplitude is suppressed by at least an order of magnitude. Fig. 3.2(b) shows the effect of axial and tangential fuel entry upon Strouhal number for the suppressed PVC as a function of Reynolds number and equivalence ratio for a 1/5 scale model of the burner of Fig. 3.1(d). There are differences between axial and tangential fuel entry, but at high Reynolds numbers the values of Strouhal number are approaching 80–90% of the isothermal state. At exceptionally low equivalence ratios (f!0.02) a large PVC reappears with axial fuel injection [2,51] and this is the configuration upon which

the stability analysis discussed later was carried out. The radial location of the flame front close to the burner exhaust is important as this can give rise to unfavourable/favourable gradients of rwr and density conducive to PVC formation/suppression. Claypole [26,37,38] used a natural gas fired swirl burner of similar configuration to that of Fig. 2.1, but with four inlets. Fig. 3.3(a) shows the effect of combustion upon PVC rms pressure amplitude for centreline axial fuel injection via spectral analysis of signals obtained from a pitot tube located at the burner exhaust lip. The dramatic reduction in amplitude by up to a factor of 15 can be observed. Premixed fuel and air was shown to only slightly affect the PVC under the stated conditions, Fig. 3.3(b). Fig. 3.4 shows the occurrence of the PVC for a range of Swirl numbers and flow rates (Re). PVCs only occur beyond a flow rate of w600 l/min (ReZ40,000) and this is where vortex breakdown occurs as there is no CRZ formed at lower flowrates. For 0.8OSO1.8 two PVCs are observed of approximately equal intensity. For higher Swirl numbers a single PVC reappears, but with multiple


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Fig. 2.16. General flow characteristics of the PJ, derived from instantaneous PIV, phase and precession direction resolved phase averaged PIV and surface flow visualisations [57].

harmonics, whilst for S!0.8 only one PVC could be detected. A visualisation of a two PVC state in the swirl burner of Fig. 2.1 with axial fuel injection is shown in Fig. 3.5. A stainless steel mirror enabled simultaneous images to be obtained in the axial/radial and tangential/ radial directions. Inside the burner the two PVCs rotate in mesh and then spiral outwards in a helical manner as they leave the burner exit. The PVCs persist for about 1.5 exhaust diameters downstream of the exhaust, being of similar length to the single PVC visualised in Fig. 2.4. For fZ0.89, Fig. 3.6, the Strouhal number ranged from w0.8 (SZ0.63) to 0.32 (SZ1.26), 0.3 (SZ1.53). The value for SZ0.9 shows a sudden jump as a double PVC mode is established with values of Strouhal number dropping from 0.86 to 0.2 as the mode switched from single to double PVC. This behaviour is quite different from the isothermal state [26,37,38] where

there is a steady increase of Strouhal number with swirl number, Fig. 2.5. The variation of Strouhal number for the second harmonic of the PVC shows the same trends, Fig. 3.7. A radial fuel injector reduced the coherence of the PVC somewhat. Available data on PVC frequencies in combustion systems has been assembled in Figs. 3.8 and 3.9, this data has been derived from references [1,2,26,30,31,37,38]. Fig. 3.8 shows the variation of Strouhal number for the PVC with 100% axial fuel entry with swirl number varying from 0.73 to 3.43 as a function of equivalence ratio, all the flames being unconfined. An equivalence ratio of 0 conveniently corresponds to the isothermal state. For the lowest swirl number of 0.732, there is a trend of increasing PVC frequency with equivalence ratio, changing as the swirl number increases due to the occurrence and formation of double PVC structures with changes in equivalence ratio.

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Fig. 3.1 (continued)

Fig. 3.1. Effect of different modes of fuel injection, SZ1.8 [2]; (a) premixed flame with excited PVC, premixed natural gas and air, fZ 0.52; (b) effect of central axial fuel injection, fZ0.952; (c) effect of tangential fuel entry, fZ0.952; (d) schematic diagram of burner.

For partially premixed conditions, Fig. 3.9 (100 kW burner of Fig. 2.1, 10–50% of the fuel injected axially, SZ0.76), a different situation pertains and although higher harmonics of the PVC were present, the first harmonic always dominates. This is why with unconfined flames, SZ1.76, there is a steady increase in PVC frequency with equivalence ratio, the value doubling from the isothermal Strouhal number of 0.86– 1.64 at fZ0.71, but then dropping down again to values between 0.56 and 0.96 as the burner is operated up to fZ2. The level of axial fuel injection varied from 0 to 50%, depending on the equivalence ratio. For unconfined flames the technique is limited by the blow off limits of the combustor. Fig. 3.9 also shows results from a large 2 MW swirl burner furnace system, Fig. 3.10(a) and (b) (0.7!S! 1.6, De/DoZ0.5, swirl burner four times geometric scale up unit of Fig. 2.10(c)). Here, because the furnace


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Fig. 3.2. The effect of Reynolds number and equivalence ratio f upon Strouhal number [2]: (a) premixed natural gas and air and isothermal statelarge combustor, SZ1.86; (b) 1/5 scale model combustor axial and tangential fuel entry, SZ1.86.

is refractory lined to investigate the combustion of low calorific value gases, much wider blow off limits can be investigated with different modes of fuel entry. Seventy to one hundred % of the natural gas fuel was injected axially, the rest was premixed in the inlets with the air.

The value of Strouhal number drops dramatically from that of the isothermal state, 1.2 to w0.5 for f between 0.1 and 0.3, and then rises steadily back to the isothermal value for fw1, then steadily increases again with increasing f. There is only a small effect of

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Fig. 3.4. Occurrence of the PVC for a range of swirl numbers as a function of Swirl number and flow rate (Re). Hatched area shows region of single PVC, square hatched area shows region of double PVC [26,37,38].

Fig. 3.3. Effect of combustion upon the PVC with (a) 100% axial fuel injection; and (b) premixed, SZ1.98, DeZ75 mm, equivalence ratio 0.89 [26,37,38].

Swirl number and mode of fuel injection, upon Strouhal number for fw1. As the PVC frequency varied quasilinearly with flowrate changes it was evident that the PVC was not driven by system acoustics. The isothermal value of the Strouhal number for the 2 MW system is 1.2, Fig. 3.9. Reference to Fig. 2.10(b) shows a frequency ratio confined to free (Do/DeZ2) of 1.5 and thus, the equivalent Strouhal number for the 2 MW unit firing into free air is w0.8. This is a reasonable match to the isothermal result for the unconfined SZ1.76, 100 kW unit, Strouhal number 0.88, when differences in swirl number are allowed for.

For partially premixed conditions only one dominant PVC was normally found, although there was always evidence of other harmonics. The work of Anacleto et al. [50] provides an interesting contrast here. In their LPP system, Fig. 2.11, a vaned type swirl surrounds a central hub containing a fuel injector/atomiser. The swirling flow is converged to a small diameter, but long chamber, where centrally injected liquid fuel is pre-vapourised. Combustion occurs downstream of this section in a larger diameter chamber. The mixing and flow characteristics in the combustion chamber are shown to be strongly influenced by the formation of a large PVC in the first pre-mixing chamber. However, as the PVC has had significant opportunity to develop in the first chamber, there is no suppression, and the Strouhal number with combustion is very similar to the isothermal state. The stability of rotating flow may be analysed via the work of Rayleigh on flow stratification [62] and consideration of stratification parameters such as modified Richardson numbers, Ri, as proposed by Beer et al. [63]. The stability criterion proposed by Rayleigh was that a system is: – stable if rwr increases with r (solid body rotation) – neutrally stable rwr is constant with r (free vortex) – unstable if rwr decreases with r Syred et al. [61] characterised the flow containing a single PVC with combustion via axial fuel injection in the burner of Fig. 3.1(d) at very low equivalence ratios, fZ0.02, using phase locked fluctuating temperature measurements and flow analysis. The rotating temperature fields obtained are shown in Fig. 3.11(a) and (b). Here, the natural gas was completely entrained into the

118 N. Syred / Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 32 (2006) 93–161 Fig. 3.5. Co-incident pairs (a and b), (c and d), (e and f) of double PVC images from natural gas fired swirl burner, SZ1.77, via high-speed video. Images obtained via inclined stainless steel mirror.

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Fig. 3.6. Variation of Strouhal number for first harmonic PVC with flow rate and swirl number equivalence ratio, 0.98, DeZ75 mm (1 m3/minZreynolds number 67,500) [37,38].

PVC and burnt on the boundary, the precessional motion developing in the last half diameter before the exhaust. By the exhaust the PVC was about 39% of the exhaust radius and trailed a wake of burning hot gas, achieving maximum temperatures of 1250 8C on the edge of the PVC. Phase locked distributions of angular momentum (rwr), Fig. 3.12, showed negative gradients in and around the PVC, followed by a neutral region just past the PVC, then an outer annulus with positive gradients at larger radii showing stable flow. Further analysis of this flow was carried out using the modified Richardson number, Ri, which is the ratio of the centrifugal forces in a field with density gradients to the shear forces. Stabilising effects occur for values of

Fig. 3.8. Variation of unconfined strouhal number with equivalence ratio, 100% axial fuel injection, 100 kW unit, Fig. 2.1 [1,2,26,30,31, 37,38].

Fig. 3.7. Variation of Strouhal number for the second Harmonic of the PVC with flow rate and swirl number [26,37,38].

RiO0. As the radial density gradient distributions showed large negative values in and around the PVC, Fig. 3.13(a) and (b), Ri becomes negative and thus confirms the unstable nature of the flow region around the PVC. Re-examination of the flames produced by axial fuel injection, Fig. 3.1(b) shows that at the burner exit the flame is burning in and around the central vortex core region at quite a small diameter, typically w0.2 De. There is little opportunity for negative gradients of rwr and temperature (hence, density gradient) to develop and thus precession of the vortex core is minimised. The flame can only expand radially when velocities have decayed due to the downstream expansion of the flow, allowing matching to occur between the flow and flame speed. This also causes a downstream displacement of the CRZ; conditions in and around the CRZ are then not favourable to significant PVC formation. Recent work from several sources [42–46,64] has shown some light on stability of swirling flames when the PVC is suppressed. Roux et al. [45] modelled the flows within an atmospheric complex swirl combustion system using compressible large eddy simulation (LES), acoustic analysis and experiments in both isothermal and reacting flows with methane as fuel. A vaned type swirler fired into a square combustion chamber was used whilst the fuel, methane, was premixed with the air. Reasonable agreement between predictions and experimental measurements was found. Under combustion conditions (fZ0.75, mairZ12 g/s, QHZ27 kW) a PVC found under isothermal conditions was suppressed. Here the combustion aerodynamics are strongly influenced by an acoustic


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Fig. 3.9. Variation of Strouhal number with equivalence ratio with partial premixing, 2 MW and 100 kW units [1,2,26,30,31,37,38].

588 Hz 3/4 wave mode. A snapshot of an LES prediction of an instantaneous temperature isosurface is shown in Fig. 3.14(a) with a compact but irregular flame located close to the burner exhaust. Mean temperature profiles show a regular flame form [45], and this is constructed from the average of thousands of snapshots as shown in Fig. 3.14(a). This irregular instantaneous flame form is clearly susceptible to distortion and coupling with acoustic and other natural modes of oscillation of the system. Selle et al. [64] carried out a LES simulation of a swirl stabilised Siemens industrial gas turbine burner firing into a square combustion chamber under atmospheric conditions firing natural gas with preheated air at 673 K. The burner was constructed from two sections, a central axial swirler is used to inject some air, whilst the majority of the air is injected by a so-called diagonal swirler. Fuel is normally injected in the diagonal swirler through holes located on both sides of the swirl vanes. Measurements were taken of mean and rms velocities for hot and isothermal cases, in addition thermocouples were used to obtain temperature fields under combustion conditions. Under isothermal conditions PVC was predicted and measured, but completely suppressed by combustion and a 1000 K temperature iso-surface from the LES work is illustrated in Fig. 3.14(b). This clearly shows again the turbulent nature of the flame/flow interaction where pockets of fresh gas are periodically shed from the main flame zone and burn downstream. A central core of hot gas is stabilised along the burner axis by the CRZ, this core is attached to the face of the axial swirler. The pressure field structure with combustion corresponds with and induces an acoustic mode of the chamber not analysed.

Syred et al. [46] have shown that swirling flames with a suppressed PVC are susceptible to irregular disturbances and hence, coupling with acoustic or other modes of oscillation and indeed re-establishment of a large PVC structure in certain circumstances [30].

Fig. 3.10. Photograph and schematic diagram of swirl burner/furnace system, four times scale up of 100 kW system, operated with 25%, tangential inserts to give Swirl No. 1.155 [30]: (a) photograph; (b) schematic.

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Fig. 3.10 (continued)

The burner of Fig. 2.1 is operated with axial fuel entry alone at fZ0.456, whilst the PVC amplitude is substantially suppressed so little residual trace can be found. A salt solution is injected with the fuel so that the high temperature regions of the flame are well visualised by the fluorescence of the sodium chloride. This volatilises early in the high temperature regions inside the burner, enabling high frequency images to be obtained at 1 kHz, with an exposure of w0.1 ms (no laser is used, this is just natural flame luminescence). Successive images are subtracted from each other to give a measure of the change of intensity especially towards the edge of the flame, Fig. 3.15. These

subtracted images are then analysed to give a mean, rims and local intensity value. Both a side and top, tangential/radial, views are obtained via the use of stainless steel mirror. This plot thus gives information on the fluctuation of flame intensity for frequencies up to 1 kHz for a 1 s time frame (the storage limit of the camera was 1000 frames, based on LDA experience probably 10,000 images are needed to obtain better statistics). In particular, it shows that the edge of the flame is highly intermittent with instantaneous fluctuations up to six times the mean, this occurring within about 1–1.5 burner exit diameters. Circumferentially, there is also a very large non-uniformity as shown by the top view, and tangential radial mixing appears to dominate on the edge and top of the flame. The data can be further analysed, Fig. 3.16. Here, four successive flame images, again each separated by 1 ms have been analysed in terms of the flame shape, the 5 and 95% areas of maximum intensity have been identified. Analysis of the behaviour of volatilised sodium in flames indicates that the flame boundary corresponds to the outer contour and a temperature around 650 8C. As to be expected the downstream flame shows substantial variation in shape, but most interestingly the flame just leaving the burner exit shows considerable variation in its diametric location and it appears that the flame is physically wobbling or precessing with no regular frequency that could be detected, there are also indications of this in Fig. 3.15. The top view of the flame shows that it is non-circular in shape and considerably distorted. there have been similar reports of this phenomena by other workers [40–42,45]. Examination of the cine film and still images so derived shows that the flame is sensitive to small disturbances and is easily disturbed by flow or acoustic perturbations, especially downstream of the burner exit. Clearly, the presence of a quarl (or conical burner outlet) which guides the expansion of the flow can also serve to damp significant eddy movements on the outside of the flame as it expands past the burner exit, (discussed in more detail later). However, it does little to suppress the irregular circumferential movements shown in the top views of Figs. 3.15 and 3.16, or the irregular end section of the flame. The 95% intensity contour also suggests that the boundary of the highest temperature regions of the flame and central reaction zone is also varying considerably, Fig. 3.16, probably also corresponding to an irregular fluctuation in the size and shape of the CRZ and associated shear layer. Fig. 3.17 shows flame boundaries derived from an analysis of three separate successive side views. Here, it is clear that between images 783 and 784 there has been


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Fig. 3.11. Phase locked rotating temperatures (8C) obtained from compensated thermocouples in swirl burner of Fig. 3.1(d), fZ0.02 [61]: (a) x/DeZK0.52; (b) x/DeZ0.

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Fig. 3.12. Phase locked radial distribution of angular momentum flux [61].

massive movement in 1 ms, corresponding to mean flame front velocities of up to 40 m/s in places, more commonly 20 m/s. The radial movement of the whole flame close to the burner exit is evident between images 783 and 784, with a radial displacement in 1 ms of 5.2 mm, or 10% of the flame diameter at this point. As discussed earlier one reason for the suppression of the large PVC is the very small column of hot recirculating flow in the exhaust of the burner, surrounded by a thin annular flame, this being contained within a high velocity annulus of swirling flow where the flame will not stabilise. Flame expansion occurs downstream of the burner exhaust and this flame then surrounds the CRZ located well downstream of the burner exhaust (i.e. flame of Fig. 3.1(b)) in a region not conducive to PVC formation. The work of Roux et al. [50] is noteworthy in that it shows a swirl flow combustor with premixed fuel and air where the PVC is suppressed. The reasons for this appear to lie with the configuration of the system, location of the flame front and the development of the swirl flow system and CRZ. In particular, swirling flow enters an annulus surrounding a centre body and then is

forced into a contraction before entering the combustion chamber. The processes occurring are illustrated by Figs. 3.18(a), (b) and 3.19(a), (b) (fZ0.75, mairZ 12 g/s, QHZ27 kW), which show velocity and temperature profiles just inside the combustion chamber. The important features are as follows. For isothermal flow the tangential velocity close to the entrance to the combustion chamber follows a Rankine distribution [1,2], Fig. 3.18(a), with a steady rise from the central axis to a peak in the forward shear layer (forced vortex) followed by a decay towards the walls (free vortex). This type of distribution continues downstream with steady decay of velocity levels, Fig. 3.18(a), with transference of angular momentum to the external flow and smoothing out of the profile by xZ25 mm. In contrast, the tangential velocities with combustion show, Fig. 3.18(b), that at the entrance to the combustion chamber (xZ1.5 mm) there is little tangential velocity in the central region of flow. Significant transference of angular momentum to this region does not occur until xZ35 mm, Fig. 3.15(b). All the tangential velocity is concentrated in an annular flow region on entry to the combustion chamber. Essentially, as there is little angular momentum in the central region of the flow there is no real vortex core (normally this region has a forced vortex distribution [1,2]) and nothing to precess. The axial velocity profiles under combustion conditions, Fig. 3.19(a), show that the initial annular jet flow rapidly diverges and gives rises to a large toroidal recirculation zone and is of high velocity w25 m/s. The corresponding temperature profiles, Fig. 3.19(b), shows recirculation of very hot combustion products back to the root of the flame at xZ 1.5 mm. These hot recirculated gases are extremely viscous and appear to substantially reduce the transference of angular momentum into the central region, thus producing conditions not favourable to PVC formation. The presence of a centre body restricts the upstream location of the CRZ and due to the high velocity levels the flame cannot flash back and allow a PVC to develop as reported in [1,2]. The configuration of the centre body is important here, it consists of a tapering cone leading from the axial swirler and terminating at small diameter at the entrance to the combustion chamber. There is thus some restriction of flow on the central axis but not enough to induce a substantive bluff body flow and allow a PVC to form as reported in [39]. Although the PVC has been suppressed with premixed combustion an acoustic 3/4 wave for the whole device is amplified at 588 Hz and interacts with


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the instantaneous the flame structure. Obviously under appropriate conditions considerable excitation can occur. Selle et al. [64] also showed suppression of the PVC with combustion in an Industrial gas turbine swirl stabilised combustor. There are considerable similarities to the results of Roux [45] in terms of the velocity and temperature profiles produced close to the burner exhaust when firing into the combustion chamber. Especially, noticeable is the experimental LDA results showing that there is negligible tangential velocity in the central region of flow at x/DeZ0.35, this only develops for values of x/DeO0.6 (LES results differ). Again the temperature profiles show a CRZ completely filled with hot gas at the main combustion chamber temperature (w1650 K), surrounded by an initially cold, just starting to burn, annular jet of fuel and air, thus creating similar conditions to Roux et al. [45]. Thus, there is a situation where there is initially no swirl velocity in the central region, hence, no vortex

core to precess. Similarly, use of the Rayleigh criteria for stratified flows [62] and consideration of the modified Richardson number, Ri, shows that – as angular momentum flux, rwr, is very low in the central region of flow close to the burner axis, positive gradients exist due to the strongly swirling annular jet entering the combustion chamber, thus promoting stability; – in terms of the modified Richardson number, Ri, density gradients and centrifugal force gradients are positive from the central region outwards to the annular swirling jet, again promoting stability; – this analysis applies equally to the work of Roux et al. [45]. Unfortunately, neither Roux et al. [45] nor Selle et al. [64] define a swirl number for their configurations. Reddy et al. [66] used PIV with a 508 vaned swirler (swirl number S estimated at about 1) firing

Fig. 3.13. Phase locked distribution of radial density Gradient: (a) cross-section at burner exhaust, x/DeZ0; (b) radial distribution at x/DeZ0, various phase angles.

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Fig. 3.13 (continued)

isothermally into a square combustion chamber and found both a central CRZ, and also, not unexpectedly, a series of corner eddies. The swirl vanes are fitted to a large flat centre body. The PVC was clearly visualised well downstream of the swirler at x/DeZ2.5. Unfortunately, the effect of combustion was not investigated. Paschereit and Gutmark [65] described and analysed the effectiveness of passive combustion control methods applied to a low-emission swirl stabilised industrial combustor. Several axisymetric and helical unstable modes were identified for fully premixed and diffusion type combustion. The combustion structures associated with the different unstable modes were visualised using phase locked images of OH chemiluminescence and analysed using cross-correlation between OH detecting fibre optics. Four different thermo-acoustic instability modes were forced to occur by adjusting the acoustic boundary conditions for different operating conditions. Each of the four modes was due to different acoustic and or flow modes.

Three of the modes reported were of helical form, both with premixed combustion and diffusion flames. The Strouhal numbers ranged from (all Strouhal numbers corrected to that used in this text) 0.59 (axisymetric structure, premixed), to 1.19 (helical structure, premixed, 2.05 (helical structure, diffusion) to 7.97 (helical structure, premixed). The helical structures appear to of PVC form. One form of instability that contributed to the pressure oscillations was movement of the CRZ and initiation of vortex breakdown. Three passive control methods were discussed and reviewed in the paper: † Miniature vortex generators installed around the circumference of the burner exit to induce instability in the Kelvin–Helmholtz vortices formed at that point. These instabilities disrupted the roll-up of the vortices, thus reducing the source of regular oscillating heat release, and disrupting amplification via the Rayleigh criteria [20]. This technique reduced high frequency oscillations and at the same time suppressed low frequency instabilities. Some nozzle designs yielded


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Krebbs et al. [67] undertook a detailed acoustic analysis of a swirl stabilised gas turbine combustor and described design and modelling methodologies aimed at evolving configurations which minimise acoustic response and excitation, hence interaction with any nascent PVC. In contrast, Ancacleto et al. [50] used a system with a vaned swirler firing through a convergence, followed by a first stage premixing chamber and then the combustion chamber, Fig. 2.11. The first stage-mixing chamber allowed the PVC to develop and this then continued through into the combustion chamber so combustion had little effect on the PVC. A summary of flame types with and without the PVC is summarised in Table 1. Six different flame types are identified; the state of the PVC is indicated and whether or not it is suppressed or not. What is clear from the above is that even when the large PVC is absent the resulting swirl stabilised flame is very sensitive to small disturbances and can follow an irregular precessional motion, which translates to large irregular motion of the flame brush.

Fig. 3.14. (a) Snapshot of an LES prediction of 1250 K instantaneous temperature, iso-surface [45]. Note compact but irregular flame located close to the burner exhaust; (b) Snapshot of an LES prediction of 1000 K instantaneous temperature iso-surface produced by industrial gas turbine combustor [64].

4. Vortex breakdown, modelling of the PVC and related phenomena, comparison with experiment The occurrence of the PVC is normally linked to the phenomena of vortex breakdown and the occurrence of CRZ. There is considerable evidence from analytical and experimental studies that precessional motion can exist at low swirl numbers when CRZs are not present, although there do appear to be significant differences to the PVC occurring after vortex breakdown; this is discussed later in this section. Sarpkaya [68] provided the first very detailed experimental study of the vortex breakdown phenomena and showed that the form, type and occurrence were very much a function of Swirl number and Re, Fig. 4.1. In his rig, vortex core precession only started after the formation of the initial breakdown bubble. Two main types of vortex breakdown were identified, being a function of Swirl number and Re. An extensive review of vortex breakdown has been made by Lucca-Negro and O’Doherty [69]. The paper reviews experimental, numerical and analytical studies, as well as descriptions, types and forms of the phenomenon. Although a clearer picture of the flow structures produced has emerged, a complete description of the phenomena has not emerged. As the vortex breakdown phenomena is normally regarded to be a pre-cursor to PVC

over 10 dB suppression of high and low frequency instabilities. † An elliptically shaped burner, which essentially has two volute or scroll inlets, induces axis-switching dynamics in the large-scale swirling vortices formed in the combustor. These are characterised by several azimuthal unstable modes that reduce the coherence of the vortices. Such geometry prevented coupling with acoustic modes and resulted in suppression of instabilities by over 25 dB for a wide range of flame temperatures and power levels. In addition, NOx and CO were reduced due to enhanced mixing and increased turbulence. † Extended pilot fuel lance protruding into the plenum of the burner was used to stabilise the point of vortex breakdown (VBD). Tests in high and low pressure combustion conditions showed the VBD was highly sensitive to combustor pressure fluctuations, thus leading to another mechanism for thermoacoustic excitation. A longer lance prevents this interaction and was implemented in gas turbines in the field.

Table 1 Summary of flow and flame characteristics and the precessing vortex core Flame/flow type Isothermal Combustion intensity other effects Confinement doubles PVC frequency for SO 1.5 High comb. iIntensity; Lfw1–5 De PVC intensity and frequency (f) Iis!5 w/cm2 for SZ1.8 Strouhal no. fDelub Correlation Good at high Re with/ without furnace. Fair Pressure drop Strong function of Swirl no. By factorw3 of isothermal Remarks Audible low frequency noise. Large PVC Wide blow off limits, violent flame oscillations large PCVs present Exceptionally wide blow off limits: PVC suppressed Flame burns on PVC boundary. Large PVC present Narrow blow off limits: flame quiet. PVC suppressed Axial fuel entry for 10–50% of fuel, rest premixed. Large PVC present PVC suppressed due to system configuration N. Syred / Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 32 (2006) 93–161

(a) Premixed fuel and air. Combustion extends back (b) Diffusion flames axial fuel entry (c) Diffusion flames axial fuel entry very low f (d) Tangential fuel entry, diffusion flame (e) Partially premixed flashback prevented back to inlets by extension of exit see Fig. 2.10 (f) Premixed confined LPP configuration Fwup to 0.75



Medium combustion intensity: Lfw3–5 De Very weak combustion flame burns on PVC boundary Medium combustion; Lfw2–3 De Medium combustion intensity: Lfw1–2 De



Poor at low Reynolds no. Good at high Reynolds numbers Poor at low Reynolds numbers Fair, function equivalence ratio

w90% of isothermal



w85% of isothermal



Up to twice isothermal


f function of mixture ratio and confinement, Fig. 3.9

Similar to isothermal

High comb. intensity

PVC suppressed

Not applicable

Not applicable



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Fig. 3.15. Intensity variations from a free natural gas, swirling flame, burner of Fig. 2.1, non-dimentionalised by maximum intensity value. Simultaneous horizontal and vertical views. Intensity variations obtained by subtracting successive images obtained from camera with 1 ms interval (exposurew0.1 ms) [46].

formation there is clearly a fruitful area for further research here. Experimental studies have indicated that for many different systems (cyclone combustors, dust separators, hydrocyclones, burners, fluidic vortex devices, vortex whistles, Ranque–Hilsch tube, turbine runners [1,33, 71]) and different fluids the PVC is a phenomena which only occurs when vortex breakdown has occurred beyond critical levels of Swirl number, Re, and for certain configurations [1,2,25,32,33,37,38,70,71]. Other work [39,40,41,44] has shown that precessional motion may persist to very low values of swirl number if a swirling jet is fired into a large expansion or a centre body of significant size is present in the burner exhaust. For zero swirl the flow past a centre body will naturally induce a CRZ due to flow separation. As the level of swirl is increased there is some form of vortex breakdown occurring/change in recirculation zone/ CRZ structure leading to PVC formation [39], providing any central fuel jet is of limited velocity as otherwise the mechanism can differ with precession of the central fuel jet. ¨ Hallet and Gunther [78] while studying the flow within a dump combustor, with expansion ratios Do/De ranging from 1.25 to 3.0, visually observed jet precession within

the combustor chamber. They further concluded that precession in a dump combustor was not beneficial for mixing and did not pursue the matter further. Dellenback et al. [79] conducted a series of experiments with upstream swirl in a long pipe flow to further observe the precession phenomenon. They used an expansion ratio of Do/De of 1.94 and varied the upstream swirl number from 0.05!S!0.4 for ReZ30,000 and 100,000. Jet precession direction was found to be related to Swirl number. At low Swirl numbers the precession of the jet is opposite to that of the upstream swirl. When the swirl increases past a critical swirl number (Sw0.15), the flow precesses in the same direction as the upstream swirl. However, the air bubble visualisation technique was not able to resolve jet precession direction for values for S!0.05. The results were extrapolated to conclude that at a swirl number of zero, no precession occurs. The other region where precession direction was difficult to resolve was at the critical swirl number, Scr. The authors interpolated the data before and after the crossover point and reasoned that no precession exists at the critical swirl number (Scrw0.15). There have been many attempts to model the PVC phenomena using a number of tools ranging from

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Fig. 3.16. Top four images show instantaneous successive images from sodium, seeded flame, contours show 5 and 95% intensity levels (images move sequentially from left to right, top to bottom). Note irregularity both in the axial radial and tangential radial planes. Bottom left figure shows normalised mean rms intensity from 1000 images [46].

analytical models to CFD and LES. One of the earliest studies was that of Sozou and Swithenbank [72]. They used an inviscid model of a vortex core embedded in an axial flow and a perturbation technique by presuming small, wave-like disturbances of variables about the asymmetric flow. The intention was to model high frequency travelling tangential waves, but the numerical solution converged to a slow wave or PVC solution. Reasonable agreement with the data of Chanaud [33] and Vonnegut [71] was found. Avramenko et al. [73] extended this work by considering an axisymetric swirling flow with radial velocities that were an order of magnitude lower than

axial or tangential velocities. Cylindrical polar coordinates were used with the assumption that unperturbed velocities and turbulent viscosity are functions of radius only. The analysis eventually reduces to a second order differential equation for the perturbed tangential velocity amplitude. With the assumptions of a linear form for the unperturbed tangential velocity and considering only angular perturbations, analytical solutions are then derived for the perturbed velocity amplitudes in terms of Bessel functions and an analytical solution for the Strouhal number in terms of an effective Reynolds number. The model predicts


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Fig. 3.17. Flame boundaries derived from an analysis of three separate successive axial/radial views, burner of Fig. 2.1, exit diameter 80 mm [46].

that the PVC frequency is only a weak function of viscosity, but linearly dependent upon mean inlet velocity, in agreement with experiments. The prediction of the PVC frequency was improved by using values of turbulent viscosity that varied linearly with radius, adopting complex forms of the solutions, invoking the variational principle. This produced a general expression for the Strouhal number which included the effects of axial perturbations and an effective turbulent viscosity function [74]. Reasonable agreement between experimental velocity measurements and the theory was shown, Fig. 4.2. Bowen et al. [74] extended this work further by utilising variational techniques based on the principle that solutions will tend to a state in which energy is minimised given certain conserved quantities. They used a stream function vorticity approach for twodimensional inviscid incompressible flow over a disc. They then expanded these equations by Bessel–Fourier functions, whilst using several variational theorems which allow critical points of kinetic energy under the constraints of conserved quadratic entropy and angular momentum to be derived. Families of relative equilibria solutions were produced, the first solution representing the axisymetric case, the second term in higher order solutions representing sets of vortices rotating about each other. Prediction of the rotating flowfields produced by the swirl burner of Fig. 2.1 were qualitatively in agreement with the experimental phase locked isothermal data produced near to the burner exhaust, Fig. 2.7, with the dominant features of

the flow present. The model predicts the existence of a second peak of tangential velocity opposite to the main tangential peak, indicative of a second vortex, again confirmed by experiment, Fig. 2.2(b). The central region of negative tangential velocity is also well predicted. The first attempt to use CFD to characterise and describe the PVC was by Sato [75,76]. Fluent with a three-dimensional axisymetrical grid was used to model the swirl burner furnace combination of Fig. 2.10(c). Although a non-time dependent analysis was used he showed for the isothermal state that the flow would easily perturb and stick to a sidewall producing structures similar to those experimentally recorded and shown in Figs. 2.7 and 2.8. Bowen et al. [74] and Lucca-Negro [77] extended the work of Sato using Fluent and the RNG and RSM turbulence models operating in a time dependent mode. Good qualitative agreement between the CFD predictions and the measured PVC characteristics, Figs. 2.7 and 2.8 were found, although there was a tendency for the CFD predictions to revert to axisymetry over time. Guo et al. [80] used the CFX code and a VLES kK3 turbulence model approach for time dependent analysis of turbulent swirl flow passing into a sudden expansion, Do/DeZ5, ReZ105. The flow was unstable over the whole swirl number range from 0 to 0.48, with a large PVC type structure normally being present. The analysis shows that with zero swirl the limit cycle is a mixture of precession and flapping oscillation: the flapping motion is significant up to SZ0.5. Increase of

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Fig. 3.18. (a) Isothermal tangential velocity profiles in the combustion chamber. O LDA:LES [45]; (b) tangential velocity profiles in the combustion chamber-combustion conditions. O LDA:LES [45].


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Fig. 3.19. (a) Axial velocity profiles in the combustion chamber-combustion conditions. O LDA:LES [45]; (b) temperature profiles in the combustion chamber. O thermocouples:LES [45].

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sharp change at Scr, 0.23. The definition of Strouhal number used here is as follows:  2 pffiffiffiffi p  Do De 2  f De ub 

Fig. 4.1. Occurrence of the vortex breakdown phenomena [68].

swirl number beyond 0.08 makes the precessional motion dominant with more regular limit cycles. At the same time the precessional frequency drops until it reaches a critical swirl number, Scrw0.23, and then increases again with Swirl number, but in the reversed direction. Dellenback et al. [79] found similar results experimentally, but with Scr at 0.15. Two instantaneous visualisations of the precessional flow for swirl numbers of 0.13 and 0.25 are shown in Figs. 4.3(a), (b) and 4.4. The change in pressional direction should be noted. Beyond values of SZ0.48 vortex breakdown occurs with the formation of a CRZ and ERZ. The Strouhal number, Fig. 4.5, varies linearly with swirl number as found elsewhere, Fig. 2.5, although there is a

Fig. 4.2. Comparison of predicted and measured axial velocities at exit of swirl burner [73].

Compared to conventional definitions ffiffiffiffi Strouhal p of number the inclusion of the terms ð2= pÞðDo=DeÞ2 increases the value by more than 28, and thus the values in Fig. 4.5 must be divided by this value to compare with Fig. 2.5, i.e. giving values ranging from 0 to 0.0075. The modelled processes are thus similar to those occurring with precessing jets [51–57], where values of (a comparable) Strouhal number between 0.001 and 0.005 were found. This is hardly surprising considering the extent of the jet expansion (Do/DeZ5) and the low level of swirl. Thus, this form of precession is quite different to that associated with the CRZ and which normally occurs for higher values of S, where values of Strouhal number are from 0.2 upwards. Guo et al. [41] used RANS kK3 time dependent calculations and extensive measurements to characterise swirl flow instabilities in the Swirl burner developed at the University of Sydney, Fig. 2.6 [41–44], primarily for non reacting flows. Data from the earlier work of Al-Abdeli et al. [44] was used for comparison. For isothermal conditions they showed that for ujZ66 m/s and ubZ16.3 m/s increases in Swirl number, Sg, eventually lead to the detection of distinct frequency peaks indicative of precession. This was initiated at SgZ0.34 with a 20 Hz irregular oscillation, leading to stable strong precession at SgZ0.4, again at 20 Hz. Further increases of Sg to 0.57 produced a further peak at 28 Hz, followed at SgZ0.68 and 0.91 peaks at w28 and 26 Hz, respectively. Increase of Sg to 1.59 showed no distinct frequencies, but considerable noise. A lower jet velocity of 50 m/s for SgZ0.4 gave a frequency peak of 17 Hz, whilst a jet velocity of 90 m/s for SgZ 0.57 gave a 35 Hz frequency. As discussed earlier there are obviously interactions between the swirl, bluff body and central jet which are difficult to separate. High velocity central jets are well known to cause substantial changes in flow patterns both for bluff body [81] and swirl flows [1,2] and further work is needed to separate effects. RANS prediction of the Strouhal number variation with Sg are shown in Fig. 4.6(a) and (b). Fig. 4.6(a) (ubZ16.3 m/s) shows good agreement with measured and predicted vales of Strouhal number: Fig. 4.6(b) (ubZ29.7 m/s) shows poorer agreement for a higher bulk fluid velocity. Here again the Strouhal number (SSN) is defined unconventionally, see the


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Fig. 4.3. Instantaneous visualisation of swirl flow showing its spiral nature, SZ0.13 [80]: (a) isosurface of axial velocity; (b) image showing corresponding vortex core location.

nomenclature. The values of Strouhal number may be converted to the conventional definition (fDe/ub) by the parameter 1.2Sg. If this is carried out the values of Strouhal number reduce to a range of w0.04 (SgZ2.1) to 0.1 (SgZ1) maximum. For high swirl numbers, SgO 0.8 these values of the SSN and conventional Strouhal number are very low w0.1–0.04, indicating again that this is different to conventional swirl burner systems as described by Fig. 2.5. This is confirmed by Fig. 4.7 which shows snapshots the isothermal flow evolution and structure change with variation in Sg. Regions of reverse flow are displayed by the contour line u!0. For low values of Sg, 0.35, the central jet deflects little and the flow is virtually symmetric. A downstream recirculation bubble appears at about x/DeZ1.67 from the burner face at SgZ0.6. This bubble appears to restrict the central jet movement as the precessional frequency is reduced by subsequent growth of bubble size. A recirculation ring exists in a stagnant region behind the burner face. The extent of the downstream bubble increases with Sg, eventually merging with the upstream recirculation zone. Subsequent increases of

Sg cause the bubble to intersect the central jet so the jet precesses within the confined space created by the recirculating bubble. As has been commented earlier these very complex structures differ very significantly from the conventional CRZs discussed in [1,2]. Limited reacting flow studies were undertaken where it was found that increasing heat of reaction of the fuel suppressed precession. The Strouhal number results from the Sydney Swirl Burner show that the precession generated is very similar to that of the precessing jets of references [51–58]. Wegner et al. [82] used time dependent RANS, LES and experiments to characterise isothermal swirl flow instability in an Ijmuiden type of movable block swirl generator [1,2], that has been extensively studied in the EU funded TECFLAM programme. The device is shown in Fig. 4.8, together with the computation grid used. As can be seen the computational grid extended back into the device and to the sets of inlets used to vary the swirl level. The RANS method employing a full Reynolds stress model was able to capture the PVC phenomena both qualitatively and quantitatively in

Fig. 4.4. Instantaneous visualisation of swirl flow, SZ0.25, note change of direction of precession from Fig. 4.3 [80].

Fig. 4.5. Variation of Strouhal number with Swirl number, without CRZ presence [80].

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parts. Good accuracy was achieved for predictions of PVC frequency, however the energy contained in the coherent motion of the PVC was significantly underpredicted by the unsteady RANS. Measured and predicted values of Strouhal number for SZ0.75 are in agreement with the results of [39], which are already plotted in Fig. 2.5. As has been discussed earlier, Roux et al. [45] carried out an LES study of the atmospheric flow from a gas turbine combustor into a large furnace chamber, Figs. 3.11(b) and 3.15(a). For the isothermal state a major PVC 540 Hz oscillation was found in the main chamber as well as a strong second acoustic mode at 360 Hz. The PVC frequency did not coincide with any major acoustic modes of the system and was the dominant mode of oscillation. A visualisation of the 540 Hz PVC at the exit of the swirl burner in the combustion chamber is shown in Fig. 4.9, and the helical nature is clear. The Strouhal number is estimated at around 0.7–0.8 from available data and

this is agreement with the data for the swirl burner of Figs. 2.1 and 2.5 for a geometric swirl number of about 1. Fig. 4.10 shows the measured and modelled pressure fluctuations for two positions in the system. The PVC can be seen to be only influential in the combustion chamber, whilst an acoustic resonance dominates in the inlet plenum. Combustion results and the suppression of the PVC are discussed in the next section. Selle et al. [64] studied a Siemens industrial gas turbine burner firing into a combustion chamber using LES and detailed experimental results. The burner is of complex geometry with both a central axial and an outer diagonal swirler. An instantaneous visualisation of the isothermal predicted PVC is shown in Fig. 4.11 for this configuration in the form of a snapshot of a pressure isosurface, the rotational frequency is 275 Hz. The flow inside of the spiral structure is recirculating in a CRZ, with the entire structure, PVC and CRZ rotating about the central axis causing large pressure perturbations. The sense of the rotation of the whole spiral, as a structure, is that of the surrounding swirling flow, but the sense of the winding of the spiral is opposite to that of the swirl. Not enough information is provided to calculate Strouhal and Swirl numbers. Again suppression of the PVC with combustion is discussed in the next section.

5. Oscillations in swirl burner furnace systems, related systems and associated driving mechanisms In order to explain in part the driving mechanisms for instability in swirl stabilised combustion systems, it is useful to characterise the complex mechanisms occurring under oscillation conditions and flow conditions where the PVC is suppressed. There are few articles in the literature which quantify the processes occurring under regular, stable, oscillatory conditions whilst analysing the underlying processes, apart from Fick [30], Froud, [19,85], Dawson, [83,86], Syred et al. [18,61,84], Rodriquez-Martinez [28,29], Roux et al. [45], Ancacleto et al. [50], Schildmacher et al. [87–90]. In each of these references, analysis has been made of the flow and other structures in swirl combustion systems oscillating under representative but very different conditions using a variety of techniques including phase locked LDA, LDA, phase locked temperatures via fine wire thermocouples and LES. A variety of different oscillations have been investigated with a range of different driving mechanisms, these are discussed below. This is complemented by two studies [45,64] where the PVC is suppressed by combustion.

Fig. 4.6. Variation of Strouhal number with swirl number, Sydney swirl burner [41] for bulk fluid velocities ubZ16.3 and 29.7 m/s.


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Fig. 4.7. Sydney swirl burner, RANS visualisation of instantaneous flow-field showing evolution with Sg for ubZ16.3 m/s. Contour lines show reverse flow zones where axial velocity is zero [41].

5.1. Driven PVC oscillations in the 2 MW swirl burner/furnace system, 100% axial fuel entry This occurred with the large 2 MW swirl burner/ furnace system shown in Fig. 3.10(a) and (b). This involved a 24 Hz oscillation [30,84], identified as of large, high amplitude, PVC form. It occurred with 100% axial fuel injection (no premixing), an equivalence ratio of 0.092. This gave a value of Strouhal

number of 4.8, some four times that expected with the isothermal state or 5–8 times that with partial premixing, Fig. 3.9. Indeed under these conditions a suppressed PVC would have been expected. This oscillation only occurred at low values of equivalence ratio as indicated, but over a significant range of flowrates, and there are similarities to the combustion state reported in [61] and previously described in Section 3. Acoustic analysis of the swirl burner/furnace

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Fig. 4.9. Isosurface of low pressure to visualise the isothermal PVC formed at the exit of the swirl burner [45].

Fig. 4.8. Ijmuiden movable block swirl generator and computational grid [82]: (a) schematic of device; (b) computational grid.

system showed that there were a number of different acoustic modes corresponding to this resonance, including basic Helmholtz and inlet travelling waves. It thus appears that the large PVC is being driven by coupling with acoustic resonances of this system. The oscillation was analysed by measurement of phase averaged temperature (via compensated fine wire thermocouples), axial and tangential velocities, as shown in Figs. 5.1–5.3. Fig. 5.1 shows the rotating axial and tangential velocities x/DeZ0.5 below the burner exit in the furnace. In comparison with the flow field found with the PVC freely exhausting in open air, (Figs. 2.7 and 2.8) there is less circumferential nonuniformity, especially with the axial flow, Fig. 5.1(a). The tangential flow shows an elongated, elliptical shaped higher velocity region extending over phase angles of 200–2508, whilst due to the confinement the flow has not spread radially as much as the unconfined system, Fig. 5.1(b). There is evidence of a small CRZ in the centre of the flow, Fig. 5.1(a), and this matches the characteristics of the open flame found with axial fuel

entry in the vicinity of the burner exhaust, Fig. 3.1(b). Here, almost all the combustion takes place past the burner exhaust, there being a thin narrow tulip shaped CRZ which extends back into the burner and the back plate. The phase averaged tangential velocity, Fig. 5.1(b) shows a small central region of negative tangential velocity, characteristic of the PVC. The rotating temperature field, Fig. 5.1(c), shows that combustion is occurring in a region surrounding the small CRZ of diameter about 0.56De, just within the annular high velocity regions shown in Fig. 5.1(a) and (b). The irregular nature of the outer periphery of the flame appears to be due to shear effects from this high velocity region, with the flame moving into lower velocity regions opposite to the high velocity PVC region. Combustion occurs in regions with velocities up to about 7 m/s. Thus here, at x/DeZ0.5 a fairly stable combustion region is surrounded by the rotating PVC and associated flows. Correlation of Fig. 5.1(c) and (b) shows there is a small trailing arm of hot 1200 8C combustion gases which have expanded into a low tangential velocity region of flow for phase angles 120– 1808, thus increasing the diameter of the flame in this region by 40% or more: there are similarities to Fig. 3.11(b). This periodic variation in heat release can be one of the feedback mechanisms for the Rayleigh criteria. There is also clear evidence of a large external recirculation zone near to the outer walls as shown by the negative axial velocities here. Further downstream at x/DeZ1.5, Fig. 5.2a–c, phase averaged axial and tangential velocities have become much more uniform circumferentially; the CRZ has


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Fig. 4.10. Pressure fluctuation spectra for isothermal flow at two locations [45]. Solid line experiment, dashed line LES.

expanded somewhat in size, Fig. 5.2(a), but is still off centred and of kidney shape. There again is evidence of an external recirculation zone close to the outer walls as shown by reversed axial velocities, Fig. 5.2(a). Residual vortex core precession is also present,

Fig. 5.2(b), in the centre of the flow as shown by negative tangential velocities. The phase averaged temperature contours, Fig. 5.2(c), show that here the flame has expanded radially beyond the regions of highest velocity, being about 1.3De in overall diameter.

Fig. 4.11. Pressure iso-surface visualisation of the isothermal pvc generated by an industrial gas turbine swirl burner [64].

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Fig. 5.2. Phase averaged characterisation of oscillating flow in the 2 MW swirl burner furnace at x/DeZ1.5 below burner, 100% axial fuel injection, fZ24 Hz [30]: (a) axial velocity; (b) tangential velocity; (c) temperature 8C. Fig. 5.1. Phase averaged characterisation of oscillating flow in the 2 MW swirl burner furnace at x/DeZ0.5 below burner, 100% axial fuel injection, fZ24 Hz [30]: (a) axial velocity; (b) tangential velocity; (c) temperature 8C.

The axial velocity contours in a single axial radial plane at a phase angle of 1058, Fig. 5.3, are typical of those found. The CRZ is not symmetrical, being of annular form and slightly titled to one side; only one view is presented as the differences between successive phase angles is small. The driving mechanism for the

Rayleigh criteria appears to arise from small variations in the diameter of the flame, Figs. 5.1(c) and 5.2(c); examination of the original data indicates that throughout the cycle at x/DeZ1.5, the flame diameter (as characterised by the 1035 8C contour) contracts by up to 15% or more, especially between phase angles of 190 and 2608 on the exterior boundary and 270–908 internally. This variation in heat release appears to be sufficient to provide the requisite driving mechanism


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5.2. Helmholtz and other resonances and vortex wobble /precession in a 100 kW swirl burner/furnace system, partial premixing The next type of resonance generated in a swirl burner/furnace system is quite different, as discussed by Froud [31], Froud et al. [19,85]. Here, the swirl burner/ furnace system of Fig. 2.10(c) was operated in a wide range of different modes with the deliberate aim of stimulating regular oscillations so the system could be appropriately described and driving mechanisms identified [31]. One such case for a swirl number of 1.5 is shown in Figs. 5.4 and 5.5 [31,85], where a 900 mm long extension has been added to the exhaust of the furnace (same diameter as the swirl burner exhaust). This caused a high intensity regular oscillation in the system as characterised by Figs. 5.4 and 5.5 where first and second harmonic frequencies and amplitudes as a function of equivalence ratio are shown. For a constant fuel flow rate (110 l/min), the air flow rate is varied such that a range of equivalence ratios from 0.4 to 1.2 is covered. Other variables include the isothermal PVC frequency and the Helmholtz frequency of the system calculated by assuming that the gases in the furnace act as the capacitance and the flow oscillates in the extended furnace exhaust pipe as the neck. An average combustion temperature is assumed to give the result shown in Fig. 5.4. Other acoustic resonances were investigated, but did not fit the data. Many interesting features are shown: – A high-amplitude, low-frequency resonance occurs for equivalence ratios 0.57–0.83, the frequency of which is close to that of the predicted Helmholtz oscillation. – A second resonance of much reduced amplitude occurs over the equivalence ratio range 0.57–0.83 with frequencies in the range 130/140 Hz, some three times higher than the first harmonic. The frequency varies quazi linearly with equivalence ratios between 0.57 and 0.83, hence with flow rate as the natural gas flow rate is held constant at 110 l/min. A PVC structure could also be seen to be forming in the exhaust of the furnace as discussed by Fick [30], see Fig. 2.10(a) and (b) plus associated text. Similar results were achieved with axial fuel entry alone, different fuel flow rates and variable furnace exhaust extension pieces. Longer extension pipes gave sharper resonant peaks and much higher amplitudes of oscillation.

Fig. 5.3. Axial velocity contours at a phase angle of 1058 for the 2 MW burner, fZ24 Hz, 100% axial fuel injection [30].

for large amplitude oscillations. Examination of the overall flow field suggests that as the flame is not impinging on the wall in the system it is free to wobble radially in response to external perturbations (such as arise from acoustic resonances), like the flames shown in Fig. 3.14(a) and (b), and observed by other workers [42,45]. This has resulted in a large PVC type of resonance for a situation where PVC suppression would normally occur. Clearly, stabilisation methods for such flames require methodologies to reduce the wobble at the base and to better stabilise the flame downstream by avoiding the weak, doubtless intermittent, flow regimes between the flame and the outer walls.

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Fig. 5.4. Oscillation frequencies as a function of equivalence ratio for swirl burner furnace, Fig. 2.10(c), 900 mm exhaust extension, 50% axial fuel injection, partially premixed [31,85].

For all cases combustion was not complete until the gases had entered the final extension pipe section, as shown by surface temperatures. As the resonance was essentially driven by a Helmholtz oscillation the frequency was constant over a wide range of equivalence ratios and flow rates and hence, it is difficult to immediately associate the PVC or related flow instabilities with this resonance. Phase averaged tangential, axial velocities and temperatures (again using compensated thermocouples) over the oscillation cycle, just past the swirl burner exit and in the furnace, were used to characterise the mechanisms of oscillation in the system for an equivalence ratio of 0.671 and an oscillation frequency of 41 Hz, Fig. 5.6 (phase angle 08), 5.7 (phase angle 908), 5.8 (phase angle 1808), 5.9 (phase angle 2708) [83]. Examination of the axial velocity levels through the system, Figs. 5.6–5.9, shows the device is acting like a pulsating combustors as the axial flow is virtually stopped between phase angles of 90 and 1808. It is only at a phase angle of 08 that a conventional type of swirl burner flow exists with a continuous flow stream leaving the burner exit, hitting the furnace wall at about x/Dew0.5De and then staying attached as it moves through the furnace. A large CRZ exists in the centre of the flow, with some evidence that it extends down to the end of the furnace. Highest levels of tangential velocity are not reached until x/Dew1 downstream of the swirl burner exit for all phase angle shown, 0, 90, 180, 2708, Figs. 5.6–5.9 The fluctuating temperature measurements, Fig. 5.6, show that at a phase angle of 08, combustion is confined to a central rod shaped region in and around the CRZ and this appears to act as a pilot flame through the oscillation. At a phase angle of 908, Fig. 5.7, the rising pressure of the oscillation has

virtually stopped flow entering the furnace from the swirl burner, leaving a weak, annular CRZ close to the swirl burner exit and a weak ERZ. The flame has weakened in the central region, but a flame front can be seen to be propagating backwards down the wall of the combustor, Fig. 5.7 in the low velocity region. Flow continues to swirl with high tangential velocities in the main section of the furnace, Fig. 5.7. Both Figs. 5.6 and 5.7 show very significant levels of negative tangential velocity in and around the centre line along the whole length of the furnace (phase angles 0 and 908). This must be associated with vortex core precession or some form of vortex wobble. Fig. 5.8 (phase angle of 1808) shows the flame front has now moved completely down the outer wall and become joined to the central region of combustion. The corresponding axial velocity contours, Fig. 5.8, show that apart from small regions towards the far end of the furnace, axial velocities are low, creating conditions favourable for flame stabilisation in the main section of the furnace. Quite high levels of

Fig. 5.5. Corresponding first and second harmonic oscillation amplitudes as a function of equivalence ration (arbitrary units) [31,85].


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tangential velocity still persist in the downstream section of the furnace, Fig. 5.8. Finally, Fig. 5.9 shows results for a phase angle of 2708. The axial velocity contours show that flow is reissuing from the swirl burner exhaust as the pressure in the furnace reduces, this can also be seen for the tangential velocities. The outer annular flame front has retreated up the furnace, just leaving the central rod shaped pilot flame. Again Fig. 5.9 shows significant levels of negative tangential velocity in and around the centre line of the system, indicative vortex precession or wobble. Both Figs. 5.8 and 5.9 show areas of negative tangential velocity in the region of the external recirculation zone, close to the burner exit for r/roO 0.5, again indicative of unstable swirling flow. The negative tangential velocities in and around the centre line of the system thus indicate that as in the previous case, with the 2 MW swirl burner/furnace system, the flow is wobbling radially as it leaves the swirl burner exit (where there is little or no combustion, only some recirculation of hot gases via the CRZ back into the burner exit). Wether this wobble is irregular or regular in nature is difficult to resolve as some data smearing does occur with phase locked LDA and temperature measurements and there may be undetected generation

of axial radial eddies from any PVCs that are present. Simple calculations based on the maximum tangential velocity and its radius as it leaves the swirl burner exit (phase angles 270 and 08) indicate that a double PVC may be present with a frequency of about 80 Hz for part of the cycle. However, flame wobble probably produces circumferential variation of heat release, triggering the formation of axial radial eddies, generating alternating patterns of rich and lean combustion sufficient to reinforce combustion oscillations via the Rayleigh criteria, especially as the flame propagates back along the furnace wall towards the swirl burner exhaust at a phase angle of 1808, Fig. 5.8, as with the 2 MW system previously described. More recently, Rodriquez-Martinez [27,29], Dawson et al. [86] have extended the work on the 100 kW swirl burner/furnace system, Fig. 2.10(c), producing a number of stability maps similar to that shown in Figs. 5.4 and 5.5. Of relevance here is the detailed phase averaged velocity characterisation of a low frequency (41 Hz, SZ2.18, equivalence ratio 0.9) system oscillation, this time excited by travelling waves in the inlet pipe. This lead to instantaneous flow reversal in the pipes over part of the limit cycle oscillation. The configuration of the furnace was changed slightly

Fig. 5.6. Phase averaged (phase angle 08) temperatures, 8C, axial and tangential velocities [85].

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Fig. 5.7. Phase averaged (phase angle 908) temperatures, 8C, axial and tangential velocities [85].

from that of Froud [31,85], with a reduced furnace exit diameter, Dfe/DeZ0.7, and small changes to the length of the furnace taper and length. Inside the swirl burner furnace system there were some differences in the flow patterns generated, but there still clearly existed a fundamental pattern of the flow into the furnace from the swirl burner being periodically shut off over the limit cycle of oscillation. As angular momentum and swirl velocities were largely conserved in the swirl burner and furnace system over the limit cycle oscillation, the considerable variation in axial velocity caused large variation in swirl number and hence, size and shape of the CRZ. No negative tangential velocities were found with the measured tangential velocities inside the system, although directional intermittency measurements clearly showed that the centre line of the vortex in the furnace was wobbling off centre more than 30% of the time. Similar effects were found close to the outer wall, but the internal measurements were not as detailed as those of Froud [31,85]. Detailed phase locked axial and tangential velocities were taken just above the top of the furnace exit. Fig. 5.10(a)–(e) shows the phase averaged pressure trace used for

triggering purposes and illustrates there are inputs from several harmonics in the system; similarly the geometry and geometrical ratios used are illustrated. The phase averaged axial velocity, Fig. 5.10(a) shows that although flow is issuing from the furnace exit for all phase angles, the velocity and hence, flow rate doubles over most of the section for phase angles 240– 758. The associated axial directional intermittency plot, Fig. 5.10(c), shows that there is some irregular wobble for all phase angles, the most intense effect being between 0 and 908. The tangential velocities, Fig. 5.10(b), show a very different pattern with the most intense swirling flow being confined to phase angles between 300 and 908. The corresponding tangential directional intermittency plot, Fig. 5.10(d) shows that this flow is very unstable over the whole limit cycle of oscillation, both close to the outer wall and in the central region of flow. Instantaneous flow reversal is occurring up to 40% of the time for phase angles 250–458 close to the outer wall and again this infers a high level of vortex wobble and/or precession, probably originating from excitation of the swirling flow leaving the swirl burner and entering the furnace as discussed in the data from Figs. 5.6 to 5.9.


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Fig. 5.8. Phase averaged (phase angle 1808) temperatures, 8C, axial and tangential velocities [85].

5.3. Characterisation of high frequency oscillations in a 100 kW swirl burner furnace system, partial premixing Rodriquez-Martinez [27,29] and Dawson [28,83,86] have extended the work with the generic 100 kW swirl burner/furnace system of Fig. 2.10(c) with 60% of the fuel being premixed with the air, the rest being introduced axially to investigate not only low frequency oscillations but those in the range w240/260 Hz, again produced by subtle changes in furnace geometry, Fig. 5.11. The two geometries are designed to contrast the effects of a sudden expansion and a quarl. Fig. 5.12 contrasts pressure and frequency spectra data from the two different configurations, a and b refer to geometry 2a and c and d to geometry 2b with a quarl inserted. The quarl substantially reduces the amplitude of the oscillation. The spectral analysis for both cases, Fig. 5.12(b) and (d) shows the predominant peak of the Helmholtz resonance at w240 Hz, although there is also a low frequency peak present for both cases at around 40 Hz, corresponding to the bulk mode low frequency oscillation previously described. Fig. 5.13 shows the corresponding rms pressure and frequency as

a function of equivalence ratio. The high frequency oscillation persists for an equivalence ratio range w0.55–0.85, dependent on the case, reverting to the low frequency bulk mode oscillation beyond these limits, w40/50 Hz, although at much lower amplitude levels. The effect of the quarl is seen to substantially reduce the amplitude of oscillation, case 2b compared to the case without it, case 2a, over virtually the whole of the equivalence ratio range where this high frequency oscillation is found. The quarl has little effect on the amplitude of the low frequency oscillations. Simultaneous measurement of light emission and pressure from the system enables a Rayleigh index to be constructed, which showed, as to be expected that maximum excitation occurred in the flow region immediately downstream of the swirl burner exit in the furnace [27,29,85]. The high frequency oscillations are attributed to near in phase coupling of a natural Helmholtz resonance of the swirl burner and furnace with the combustion process and swirl dynamics. The exhaust of the swirl burner acts as the neck of the resonator, and periodic heat release occurs via the mechanisms discussed above [27,83], including wobbling and precessional motion of the swirling flow

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Fig. 5.9. Phase averaged (phase angle 2708) temperatures, 8C, axial and tangential velocities [85].

as it leaves the burner exit, as well as shed partially burning radial axial eddies. Detailed phase locked velocity measurements for both this high frequency oscillation case are shown in Figs. 5.14 and 5.15, case 2a, and 5.16, case 2b [27,29,86]. The phase locked velocity levels for case 2a, Fig. 5.14 show considerable differences from those found with the low frequency oscillation, Figs. 5.6–5.9, in that the flow through the swirl burner is not periodically arrested, but slows and accelerates in tune with the near sinusoidal pressure wave shown on Fig. 5.14(e). Fig. 5.14 compares and contrasts axial and tangential velocities as well as their directional intermittencies for six phase angles. Most variation occurs with the axial velocity which shows the CRZ expanding and contracting with the sinusoidal pressure wave, becoming detached and quite weak at a phase angle of 2408, whilst extending well down into the swirl burner and the burner back plate at a phase angle of 08. This arises because the variations in axial velocity and hence flow rate into the furnace cause a variation in swirl number (as in previous cases) estimated from 0.8 at phase angle 2408, rising to nearly four at phase angle 08. Changes in size and shape of recirculation zones are

well known to produce substantial pressure perturbations and this also probably adds to the mechanisms contributing to instability. An external recirculation zone is also evident as the swirling jet fires into the furnace. Axial directional intermittency levels show that much of the swirling jet entering the furnace is quite stable, but with layers of significant intermittency on the sides as it interacts with the CRZ and ERZ. The phase locked tangential velocities have very small regions of negative tangential velocity on the centre axis (indicative of vortex wobble), but significant regions close to the outer wall, whose size and location vary considerably over the pressure cycle. The tangential directional intermittencies are possibly the most revealing showing very considerable intermittency approaching 80% close to the wall for some phase angles. Again, as with the 2 MW swirl burner system and the 24 Hz PVC type oscillation, the flow and hence, flame is wobbling and precessing in the furnace, possibly several PVCs are spiralling in the system over part of the limit cycle oscillation at a much higher frequency. Reference to Fig. 5.12 shows that there is some modulation on the pressure signal for


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case 2a, with a superimposed frequency probably originating from the low frequency 40/50 Hz peak evident on the power spectrum. This effect is also illustrated by Fig. 5.15(a) and (b), which show the phase averaged axial and tangential velocities and associated directional intermittencies, Fig. 5.15(c) and (d) just above the furnace exit for case 2a. The results are quite different to the low frequency oscillation results above the furnace exit, Fig. 5.10. The tangential velocity field is virtually uniform above

the furnace exhaust, whilst there is still some variation in the axial velocity through the pressure cycle for phase angles 90–2858. However, the directional intermittency levels for both axial and tangential velocities are both very high, although antiphased. Again this is indicative of wobble in the main flow leaving the burner which is amplified by the combustion process and Helmholtz resonance. The corresponding data from case 2b with the quarl, is shown in Fig. 5.16, although with a restricted set of

Fig. 5.10. Phase locked velocity levels just above furnace exit [28,29,83] at X/De Z 0.52. Phase averaged axial velocities, phase averaged tangential velocities, axial directional intermittency, tangential directional intermittency, pressure trace, schematic diagram of swirl burner furnace

(a) Phase averaged axial velocities; (b) phase averaged tangential velocities; (c) axial directional intermittency; (d) tangential directional intermittency; (e) pressure trace; (f) schematic diagram of swirl burner furnace.

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Fig. 5.10 (continued)

data owing to the quarl interfering with laser access. The presence of the quarl has made the axial velocity contours much more uniform over the oscillation cycle with a more uniform and consistent CRZ, albeit of reduced size. Apart from a phase angle of 08, the ERZ has disappeared giving much more stable flows in this region and much lower values of directional intermittency. Again the tangential velocity profiles are quite uniform over the oscillation cycle, whilst the levels of directional intermittency are substantially reduced, both at the wall and towards the central axis. Above the furnace exit the flows were much more stable with substantially reduced levels of directional intermittency [27,29]. Doubtless, better shaping of the quarl section could have improved these results and reduced the pressure amplitude even further. The Rayleigh Criteria for stratified flows [62] is useful here. Although temperature measurements are not available examination of tangential velocity contours and associated directional intermittencies, Fig. 5.14(c) and d, Fig. 5.15(b) and (d), configuration 2a, shows significant levels of negative tangential velocity in the region of the ERZ and near the swirl burner exit over at least 60–70% the oscillation cycle. Thus, at the burner exit in the furnace, moving radially outwards from the entering annular, highly swirling shear flow, gradients of angular momentum, rwr, must be negative, thus

confirming the unstable nature of this region. For configuration 2b and the corresponding Fig. 5.16(c) and (d) there are no regions of negative tangential velocity and thus certainly stability in the outer region of flow close to the walls is much improved. Even for dilute combustion systems operating beyond an equivalence ratio of 0.6, thus putting them beyond the range of the high frequency oscillation with this configuration, the role of the quarl in stabilising wobbling or irregular precessing swirling flow is evident, as well as the improvement of the gradient of rwr. Clearly, the flow and flame stabilisation methods proposed herein cannot eliminate the acoustic response of the system. The mechanism of instability and coupling thus appears to be irregularities in the flame boundaries and/or reaction surfaces/areas, primarily associated with wobble or precession of the main vortex, possibly distortions of the CRZ, axial/radial eddy shedding from the shear layer, triggered by PVCs. Associated with this CRZ distortion is the production of a PVC whose radius of precession is governed by the motion and distortion of the CRZ, and the actual instantaneous level of swirl at a given point in the oscillation cycle. Other work on Industrial gas turbines using CFD has shown precessing vortices leaving the combustor can exhaust, passing through and attaching to the turbine guide vanes, causing overheating problems [87],


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Fig. 5.11. Swirl burner/furnace configurations to produce 240/260 Hz oscillations [27,28,86]. Differences between configuration 2a and 2b involve the removable insert which forms a conical exit or quarl at the exit of the swirl burner as it enters the furnace.


confirming the results shown in Fig. 2.10; this is discussed in more detail later. Here the reader is referred to the work of references [65,67], where methods for detailed acoustic analysis of gas turbine combustors and systems are described, together with amelioration techniques, such as small vortex generators, elliptical burners and enlarged, better located lances. 5.4. Combustion oscillations in a swirl burner combustion chamber systems and suppression of the PVC As discussed earlier in Sections 3 and 4, Roux et al. [45] have made a very detailed study of the flow characteristics of a vaned type swirl burner firing into a square combustion chamber using both modelling, LES, acoustic analysis and experimental measurements, primarily LDA. Section 4 described the isothermal characterisation of the system and the appearance of a strong PVC signal, both measured and predicted at 540 Hz, located close to the region where the swirling flow fires into the combustion chamber. A weaker 340 Hz acoustic mode exists everywhere in the system. Measured

and calculated velocities and temperatures have been presented earlier in Fig. 3.15(a), (b), 3.16(a) and (b), whilst an instantaneous LES 1250 K isosurface was shown in Fig. 3.11 for combustion conditions, fZ0.75. For this mode of combustion the PVC is suppressed as discussed earlier in Section 3 whilst two self excited acoustic modes appear experimentally around 300 and 570 Hz. They correspond to the first two modes of the combustor, 1/4 and 3/4 wave, respectively, with the 3/4 wave being the most amplified from 360 Hz (isothermal) to 570 Hz (combustion). Both the LES and Helmholtz acoustic solver gave good correlation with the experimental data, differences from experiment being attributed to errors in the acoustic boundary conditions. Fig. 5.17 shows the field of rms pressure taken from the LES predictions along the chamber axis together with the modal structure predicted by the Helmholtz solver for the 3/4 wave mode. Even though the LES signal contains the signature of all modes, its shape matches the structure of the 3/4 wave predicted by the Helmholtz solver. Unlike the rms pressure profile for the isothermal flow, the match between the Helmholtz solver and the LES is good everywhere,

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Fig. 5.12. Time series traces of pressure signals at burner wall and associated power Spectral densities for configuration 2a (a and b) and 2b (c and d), Fig. 5.11 [27,29,86].

even in the combustion chamber, confirming that the whole flow is locked on the 3/4 wave mode. Apparently, changes in flow structure due to combustion, especially the distribution of swirl flow (see Section 3), have altered the characteristic of any nascent PVC such that its frequency is well displaced from that of the Helmholtz resonance and amplification is unable to occur. This is in contrast to the oscillations reported in the 2 MW swirl burner furnace system of Fig. 3.10(a) and (b), Section 5.1. Similar results for the suppression of the PVC with combustion have been reported by Selle et al. [64] for an Industrial LPP gas turbine combustor. The conditions causing suppression of the PVC appear to be very similar to those reported above [45]. These results on the suppression of the PVC need to be treated with caution as the swirl combustors were not operating with a conventional combustor can, where there is a high level of confinement. For conditions of high swirl even when PVC does not develop near to the swirler, the intense Rankine vortex so formed can give rise to PVC in the exhaust of the combustor can [87]. The next section discusses the effect of equivalence ratio on suppression of oscillation, including the PVC, and important effects are highlighted. Finally, the effects of vortex core precession in the exhaust of a combustor can are described. 5.4.1. Instabilities generated in industrial premixed gas turbine combustor systems Schildmacher et al. [88,89] have described a series of experiments undertaken on an industrial gas turbine

combustor to investigate various instability modes, the test rig burner and combustor liner are illustrated in Fig. 5.18(a) and (b). Initial investigation of the isothermal flow indicated a vortex shedding phenomena whose frequency was linearly proportional to flowrate [88]. The accompanying large eddy simulation studies [90] showed that there was PVC which triggered vortex

Fig. 5.13. Stability maps for high frequency oscillations, systems 2a and 2b, as a function of equivalence ratio [27,29,86]: (a) pressure rms; (b) frequency Hz.


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Fig. 5.14. Phase averaged contour plots at six phase angles for configuration 2a [27,29,86]: (a) axial velocities; (b) axial directional intermittency; (c) tangential velocities; (d) tangential directional intermittency; (e) phase averaged pressure trace: directional intermittency is the phase averaged % of negative samples, contour cut off at 3%.

shedding in the shear flow region at the burner mouth. This is the same phenomena as reported in Dorresten [47] and the radial axial eddy phenomena discussed in Section 2.1. In addition, investigations of fuel concentration showed that alternating patterns of rich and lean fuel concentration is generated by this vortex shedding, though time averaged fuel concentration were axisy-

metrical and much more homogeneous [88,89,91]. Under combustion conditions with premixing of the air and fuel, pressure fluctuations were found to strongly increase with equivalence ratio, Fig. 5.19, starting at fZ0.66. The pressure amplitude at peak frequency was twice the turbulent combustion noise level at nominal operating conditions without oscillations, fZ0.5.

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Fig. 5.15. (a) Phase averaged axial (left) and (b) tangential (right) velocity contour plots just above the furnace nozzle exit (x/DeZ4.0) for configuration 2a, sudden expansion. Velocities normalized by the mean inlet flow velocity uiZ4.3 m/s [27,29,86]; (c) contour plots of the directional intermittencies of the axial (left) and (d) tangential (right) velocities just above the furnace nozzle exit (x/DeZ4.0) for configuration 2a [27,29,86].

The amplitude of the oscillations grew steadily with f, in contrast to a sudden excitation which can often happen in other systems. For fO0.77 the pressure amplitude was more than 50 times higher than the turbulent noise at nominal operation. Phase locked velocity measurements were used to analyse the variation of local swirl number over the oscillation cycle for the highest amplitude oscillations, Fig. 5.20, fZ0.83. This shows the strongest fluctuation is between 0.1!S!0.8 and is located in the reaction zone (x/DeZ0.63, 0.56). The periodicity of the signal indicated the presence of coherent structures, probably PVC induced or derived. Fig. 5.20 also indicated that for a short time around 1508 phase angle, swirl stabilisation of the flame is interrupted, which may cause strong strain rates in the reaction zone and local flame quenching. Only minor fluctuations of swirl were recorded outside of the recirculation zone. This work

compliments that discussed in Sections 5.2 and 5.3 where considerable variation of swirl number (derived from integrating the measured phase locked velocities across the flow field) through the oscillation cycle was shown [27–29,81,84]. Even when barely audible oscillations were generated at fZ0.71 the amplitude was still five times higher than the turbulent combustion noise: phase locked velocity measurements showed velocity fluctuations were of identical frequency to that of the pressure field. No frequency harmonics were present, the phase averaged velocity profiles being sinusoidal in form, whilst the swirl level only varied between 0.35!S! 0.5. No definite frequency peak could be found in the transition region when oscillation started, fZ0.66. The work concluded that there was a very strong impact of the heat release on the generation of coherent structures. For combustion the oscillation frequency


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Fig. 5.16. Phase averaged contour plots at six phase angles for configuration 2b with quarl inserted, Fig. 5.11 [27,29,86]: (a) axial velocities; (b) axial directional intermittency; (c) tangential velocities; (d) tangential directional intermittency: directional intermittency is the phase averaged % of negative samples, contour cut-off at 3%.

only changes slightly with normalised flow and the Strouhal number decreases, leading to the conclusion that resonant frequencies are linked to the acoustic eigen frequencies of the system and are not too dependent on the burner air flowrate. This work provides an interesting contrast to that of Roux et al. [45] and Selle et al. [64]. Roux et al. operated at an equivalence ratio of 0.75, Selle et al.

at 0.5. Although configurations differ, reference to Fig. 5.19 shows that the work of Roux et al. at fZ0.5 is beyond the range of equivalence ratios where excitation of high amplitude PVC type oscillations can be expected, whilst that of Selle et al. is only just in the range where excitation is initiated. Here also the effect of swirler expansion appears to be important, as the swirler was fired into a square furnace for these two

Fig. 5.17. Field of rms pressure predicted via LES along the chamber axis together with the modal structure predicted by the Helmholtz solver for the 3/4 wave mode [45].

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Fig. 5.20. Phase locked analysis of swirl number over oscillation cycle [89].

Fig. 5.18. Industrial gas turbine combustor and combustion chamber [89]: (a) schematic of test Rig; (b) schematic of swirl burner.

cases. In contrast, Schildmacher [8,89] used the complete swirler and combustor can system, giving higher levels of confinement and a smoother transition from the swirler to the can. A very interesting CFD study of a Siemens high swirl dry low emissions gas turbine combustor [87]

Fig. 5.19. Effect of equivalence ration on pressure amplitude and frequency [89].

has been produced, arising from development tests on a 13.4 MW Cyclone engine. Problems arose from observed interactions between the exhaust flow from the combustor can and the first row nozzle guide vanes of the turbine. A schematic diagram of the combustor arrangement is shown in Fig. 5.21, the system is designed for dual fuel operation. Temperature indicating paint was used to verify operating temperatures in the first row nozzle guide vanes and high temperatures were found on the six guide vanes having their leading edge closest to the axis of the six combustors used on the development engine. Fig. 5.22 shows an example of one of these vanes (termed a central NGV) and for comparison an example of a non-central NGV. The figure shows high temperatures on the suction side of the central vane and at the hub platform immediately downstream of this. A degree of flow visualisation is shown by the leading edge film cooling whose tracks can be clearly seen on the temperature indicating paint. A three-dimensional time dependent CFD analysis of the system was carried out using the computational domain shown in Fig. 5.23. A special version of the turbulent Reynolds Stress model was necessary to reproduce measured behaviour [87]. Analysis of the upstream section was first carried out and used to derive inlet boundary conditions for the full CFD analysis which covered the combustor can and nozzle guide vanes. Fig. 5.24 shows a vector plot of the combustor front end extracted at an arbitary time step. The transient nature of the flow is evident with a large radial axial eddy and the formation of PVC (not shown). Fig. 5.25 shows


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Fig. 5.21. Schematic diagram of siemens high swirl dry low emissions gas turbine combustor [87].

the temperature at a plane through the centre of the combustor and an iso-surface of relatively high vorticity, and indicates the central core of the Rankine vortex formed. Moving away from the central core the vorticity drops, given that the outer potential vortex is irrotational. The vortex core so generated in the centre of the can passes through the NGVs, Fig. 5.26, where the vortex core is again visualised by a surface of relatively high vorticity. The vortex core is directed towards the leading edge of the central NGV; however it is also attracted by the low pressure on the suction side of this vane. A second rotation is thus set up near the hub over the pressure surface, due to a large variation in incidence angle with span induced by the vortex core. The vortex core passes the leading edge of the vanes at about 40% span and migrates towards the hub through the NGV passage. This migration appears to be due to the core being attracted by the locus of lowest static pressure and an interaction between the vortex cores and secondary flows set up within the NGV. These results are consistent with the experimental ones from the development engine. 6. Discussion Most swirl combustion systems are designed with a Swirl number SO0.5 to generate a CRZ for flame stabilization purposes. When a PVC appears it is linked and possibly coupled with the CRZ. Typically, it is of helical form and is wrapped around a distorted asymmetrical CRZ. This flow combination also excites secondary flows especially radial axial eddies, and recent LES work indicates that these eddies, shed from the edge of an inlet shear flow can propagate downstream and help to initiate thermoacoustic instability. Strouhal numbers are usually in the range 0.2–1.5 unless distorted by acoustic coupling.

There are other forms of precession, associated with jets as shown by the work at the University of Adelaide. This shows that such jet precession can occur with zero to quite high Swirl numbers and a variety of different configurations up to and beyond vortex breakdown. Usually this is forced precession of a central initially non-rotating jet. Below a critical swirl number, Scr, between 0.15 and 0.23 the precession is a mixture of flapping motion and precession, beyond this it is dominated by precession with a change in rotational sense. Strouhal numbers are one to two orders of magnitude lower than those generated with conventional swirl combustors with a large PVC and CRZ. Under isothermal conditions the frequency of the PVC can be characterised for a range of different swirl flow systems by a Strouhal and Swirl number. There is evidence that a central fuel injector or bluff body of significant size can allow the formation of the PVC to much lower levels of swirl than previously thought especially when the central fuel jet is of low velocity. The effect of high levels of confinement (Do/DeZ2) upon the isothermal PVC is to increase the value of Strouhal number by more than 2 for SO1.5. The occurrence of a further vortex breakdown and associated PVC of different frequency was noted in the exhaust of the furnace in a swirl burner/furnace system, and has also been noted by others in diverse systems. Offset or other arrangements of furnace exhaust may be beneficial here in eliminating this source of the PVC. Phase locked LDA and PIV data showed that the PVC in isothermal swirling flow is characterised by the formation of regions of negative tangential velocity in the near the central axis coupled with elliptical/banana shaped regions of high axial and tangential flow close to the burner wall just above the burner exit.

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Fig. 5.22. Temperature indicating paint results from first stage NGVs. View of leading edge of central and non Central NGVs [87].

The associated CRZ is also distorted, displaced radially, and precesses about the central axis. The flow normally returns to near axi symmetry by x/Dew1–1.5. PIV studies showed the formation of axial radial eddies in and around the CRZ near the swirl burner exit, whilst water models and other experimental work showed

the shedding of axial radial eddies further downstream both from the outside of the jet flow and from the end of the recirculation zone. LES work and experiments have shown the presence of the PVC in many simulated gas turbine combustion chambers, especially under isothermal conditions, being of helical form.


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Fig. 5.23. Geometry of the computational domain [87].

Fig. 5.24. Time dependent CFD velocity snapshot at a diametrical plane at the head of the combustor. Velocity vectors are coloured with the velocity component in the direction of the combustor axis. Note the transient radial axial eddy [87].

Qualitative agreement between the LES predictions and measurements is steadily improving. Under combustion conditions the behaviour of the PVC becomes much more complex. Except at

exceptionally weak equivalence ratios, 100% axial fuel injection suppresses the PVC amplitude by more than an order of magnitude, although its residual presence can still be detected in many systems. One

Fig. 5.25. Temperature contours at a diametrical plane through the combustor and an iso-surface of relatively high vorticity [87].

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Fig. 5.26. View of the vortex core approaching the leading edge of the central NGV. The vortex core is visualised by an iso-surface of relatively high vorticity [87].

reason for this suppression of the PVC appears to be the radial location of the flame front and the pushing of the main region of flame stabilisation and CRZ formation well downstream. The flow appears to be stabilised in the burner exhaust by an annular region comprising a rotating flame surrounding a small column of hot recirculating flow which extends to the back-plate of the burner. This is surrounded by another annular region of high axial and tangential velocity where the flame cannot stabilise. Analysis using the Rayleigh criteria for the stability of stratified flows and a modified Richardson number has shown this is a very stable condition. The PVC can be excited when the flame front can move into the outer region of high velocity flow. Values of Strouhal number are very much a function of Swirl number, less so of equivalence ratio, also being complicated by the occurrence of double PVC for certain swirl number ranges for 100% axial fuel injection. Partial premixing can change this pattern with the excitation of the PVC frequency by up to a factor of 2 for equivalence ratios w0.7. The effect of confinement and partial premixing for weak equivalence ratios, 0.1–0.3, shows the value of Strouhal number being reduced by up to a factor of 3 compared to the isothermal state. Although 100% axial fuel injection generally suppresses the amplitude of the PVC, the swirling flames so produced are still unstable and susceptible to small perturbations in the flow especially in the burner exit. The flames were essentially shown to wobble with large changes in flame shape between

successive 1 ms separated cine images. Similar findings arise from consideration of snapshot flame temperature images from LES studies. Analysis of the mechanism of oscillation of swirl burner/furnace systems has been carried out in the context of the Rayleigh criteria and describing how, with a number of different excitation conditions, the system flow and flame characteristics can serve to add heat in phase with naturally occurring acoustically generated pressure nodes. The first case describes how, in a large 2 MW swirl burner/furnace system with 100% axial fuel injection, a high amplitude PVC oscillation is generated by resonance with the systems natural frequencies. High amplitude PVC would not be normally found in this condition, or be of very low amplitude. Here, the flame initially stabilises in a low velocity region around the forming CRZ and inside an annular region of high axial and tangential flow velocities. The flame propagates outwards into low velocity regions, giving a circumferential variation in heat release. This effect propagates downstream such that the flame engulfs the PVC region, but is still irregular circumferentially as the flame propagates into any available low velocity region of flow. The flame never touches the furnace walls and is surrounded by a weak area of low velocity flow which often reverses direction. This flame is thus unconstrained, can readily wobble, shed axial/radial reacting eddies, contributing to instability and the oscillation. The second case describes low frequency oscillations in a 100 kW swirl burner/furnace system,


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excited by a Helmholtz resonance. Here the oscillation is akin to that found in pulsating combustors as the flow is periodically arrested over part of the limit cycle of operation. A central cylindrical shaped pilot flame exists over all the oscillation cycles, just downstream of the burner exit, with an annular flame front moving axially back into the furnace as the flow is arrested. Phase locked measurements show negative levels of tangential velocity on and around the central axis through the limit cycle, indicative of vortex core precession, albeit of an irregular nature. Complimentary work on a similar system with a similar frequency of oscillation, but excited by travelling waves in the inlet pipes showed some vortex wobble in the furnace, but essentially a precessing flow in the furnace exhaust with significant levels of especially tangential directional intermittency, adding to evidence that the whole flame is wobbling, thus deforming the flame externally near to the furnace walls and internally in and around the CRZ, the primary flame stabilisation region. This thus again provides the variation in heat release rate necessary for the Rayleigh criteria and excitation of oscillations. The third case uses the same swirl burner furnace system with some minor changes to the furnace geometry and this time generates a high frequency oscillationw240 Hz, via a Helmholtz excited resonance. Two cases are compared, one with a quarl or conical section inserted at the swirl burner exit, one without. Without the quarl the flame does not properly fill the furnace and has considerable wobble. The quarl produces a flame which substantially fills the furnace section and thus gives a substantial reduction in oscillation amplitude over a wide range of equivalence ratios. Outside of this range the amplitude of oscillation falls considerably, the frequency dropping back to that of the low frequency case (w40 Hz), the quarl having little effect. Again the effect of flow/flame wobble/irregular precession is brought out via the phase locked measurements, especially the directional intermittencies. The quarl is shown to especially reduce intermittency, negative tangential velocities and variation in CRZ size and shape over the limit cycle of oscillation. Here, the Rayleigh criteria for the stability of stratified flows is useful in explaining the instability of the ERZ formed without the quarl. A substantive body of work has now been generated on industrial gas turbines using a variety of techniques, both experimental and numerical, RANS, LES, phase locked velocity measurements, PIV and advanced acoustic analysis. In all these systems the presence of the PVC is reported under isothermal conditions, but

with combustion suppression often occurs for equivalence ratios ranging from 0.5 to 0.75. This is a function of the system configuration, the type of swirl flow generated and the absence of swirl and angular momentum in the central region of flow close to the burner exit. Effectively there is no vortex core to precess. However, as the equivalence ratio moves into the range greater than 0.75, the flame front moves further into the annular shear flow entering the combustion chamber with the result that severe oscillations can develop, dependent on system geometry and flame front location often with the presence of helical coherent structures of PVC form. Thus, the coupling between swirl combustion and acoustic oscillations (apart from the case of PVC excitation) appears to arise from regular variations in heat release rate arising from the following: † Swirl flow and hence, flame wobble or irregular precession, causing circumferential and hence, axial variations in flame shape, combustion aerodynamics, CRZ and hence, the initial region of flame formation and stabilization. The PVC is influential here via flow coupling triggering the formation of axial radial eddies from the edge of the shear flow and the CRZ, generating alternating patterns of rich and lean combustion sufficient to reinforce combustion oscillations via the Rayleigh criteria. † This is reinforced as the limit cycle of oscillation causes natural variations in the swirl number, primarily due to variation in axial flow rate into or through the system, there being less variation in the swirl flow velocity over the limit cycle. This in term cause natural variation in the size and shape of the CRZ, in accord with the Swirl number variation. Again this affects the initial region of flame stabilisation/formation as the CRZ moves axially in and out of the burner exit and this again can reinforce oscillation. 6.1. Interaction between the above effects Remedial effects which can be used on combustors include: – the use of higher swirl levels should produce more regular and stronger CRZs that are less susceptible to deformation by pressure fluctuations. This will generate stronger PVCs, but providing these are well controlled and regular should not cause problems, providing there is a fundamental mismatch to major acoustic modes of oscillation; – control of the wobble of the central flow and flame appears to be important in reducing the regular and

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– –

– –

irregular precession of the flow and flame, a quarl or carefully shaped exhaust section can be useful here to remove the ERZ and ensure the flame properly fills the furnace; an off centred furnace exhaust may well be beneficial in eliminating the formation of other PVCs, whilst also altering the fundamental acoustic modes of oscillation of the combustor; the use of minature vortex generators to distort the generation of PVC and axial radial eddies; the use of elliptical burners which again distort the generation of the PVC, axial radial eddies and other coherent structures; The use of substantive pilot lances to stabilise the point of vortex breakdown and location of the CRZ. Investigation of the acoustic response of the system and derivation of techniques to give acoustic mismatch to other resonant frequencies.

Union via several programmes is acknowledged for much of the more recent work carried out at Cardiff University. The assistance of Dr Andy Crayford with the diagrams is gratefully acknowledged.

[1] Gupta AK, Lilley DJ, Syred N. Swirl flows. Tunbridge Wells, UK: Abacus Press; 1984. [2] Syred N, Beer JM. Combustion in swirling flows: a review. Combust Flame 1974;23:143–201. [3] Chigier NA, Beer JM. Velocity and static pressure distributions in swirling air jets issuing from annular and divergent nozzles. Trans ASME J Basic Eng 1964;86D(4):788–96. [4] Syred N, Dahmen K, Styles AC, Najim SE. A review of combustion problems associated with low calorific value gases. J Inst Energy (ISSN: 0144-2600) 1997;50:195–207. [5] Straub DL, Richards GA. Effect of fuel nozzle configuration on premix combustion dynamics; 1998 [ASME Paper No. 98-GT-492]. [6] Lieuwen T, Zinn BT. The role of equivalence ratio oscillations in driving combustion instabilities in low NOx gas turbines. Proc Comb Inst 1998;27:1809–16. [7] Mongia R, Dibble R, Lovett J. Measurement of air-fuel ratio fluctuations caused by combustor driven oscillations. Proceedings of the ASME/IGTI turbo expo conference; 1998 [ASME paper No. 98-GT-304]. [8] Paschereit CO, Gutmark E, Weisenstein W. Excitation of thermoacoustic instabilities by interaction of acoustics and unstable swirling flow. AIAA J 2000;38(6):1025–34. [9] Broda JC, Seo S, Santoro RJ, Shirhattikar G, Yang V. An experimental study of combustion dynamics of a premixed swirl injector. Proc Combust Inst 1998;27:1849. [10] Lee S-Y, Seo S, Broda JC, Pal S, Santoro RJ. An experimental estimation of mean reaction rate and flame structure during combustion instability in lean premixed gas turbine combustor. Proc Combust Inst 2000;28:775. [11] Venkataraman KK, Preston LH, Simons DW, Lee BJ, Lee JG, Santavicca DA. Mechansim of combustion instability in a lean premixed dump combustor. J Propul Power 1999;15(6): 909. [12] Pun W, Palm SL, Culick FEC. Combustion dynamics of an acoustically forced flame. Combust Sci Technol 2003;175: 499–521. [13] Giezendanner R, Keck O, Weigand P, Meier W, Meier U, Stricker W, et al. Periodic combustion instabilities in a swirl burner studied by phase-locked planar laser-induced fluorescence. Combust Sci Technol 2003;175:721–41. [14] Allgood D, Murugappan S, Acharya S, Gutmark E. Infrared measurements of thermoacoustic instabilities in a swirlstabilized combustor. Combust Sci Technol 2003;175:333–55. [15] Yu KH, Wilson KJ, Schadow KC. Liquid-fuelled active instability suppression. Proc Combust Inst 1998;27:2039–46. [16] Docquier N, Lacas F, Candel S. Closed-loop equivalence ratio control of premixed combustors using spectrally resolved chemiluminescence measurements. Proc Combust Inst 2002; 29:139–45. [17] Sivasegram S, Whitelaw JH. Oscillations in axisymmetric dump combustors. Combust Sci Technol 1987;52:413–26.

Finally it must be noted that vortex cores that form in the exhaust of a combustor may easily deleteriously interact with other downstream components 7. Conclusions This paper has reviewed recent work on instability and oscillations in swirl burner and combustion systems, using a range of existing and new data on open and confined swirl combustors, and related them to the occurrence of instability in such systems. Based on this, an analysis of the underlying mechanisms by which naturally occurring acoustic and other resonances can be reinforced is given. A number of remedial methods are discussed. For the future, there is a need for many more fundamental experimental investigations of these types of flow both to elucidate the coupling methods between the PVC and excitation of combustion oscillations as well as the exact mechanisms by which suppression of the PVC occurs. Examination of the occurrence and role of the PVC in the exhaust of combustor cans is also needed. Complimentary LES and related work is needed for validation and extrapolation purposes. Acknowledgements Professor N. Syred gratefully acknowledges the Royal Academy of Engineering award of a Global Research Award, also the facilities provided by the School of Mechanical Engineering, Adelaide University during his sabbatical leave. The financial support of the European


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