Abstract

The reduction of NOx emissions remains a driving factor in the design process of swirl-stabilized combustion systems, to meet legislative restrictions. In reacting swirl flows, hydrodynamic coherent structures, such as periodic large-scale vortices in the shear layer, induce zones with increased heat release rate fluctuations in connection with temperature peaks, which lead to an increase of NOx emissions. Such large-scale vortices can be induced by the helical coherent structure known as precessing vortex core (PVC), which influences the flow and flame dynamics under certain operating conditions. We developed an active flow control system, allowing for a targeted actuation of the PVC, to investigate its impact on combustion properties such as NOx emissions. In this work, a perfectly premixed flame, which slightly damps the PVC, is studied in detail. Since the PVC is slightly damped, it can be precisely excited by means of open-loop flow control. In connection with time-resolved OH*-chemiluminescence and stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements, the impact of the actuated PVC on flow and flame dynamics is characterized. It turns out that the PVC rolls up the inner shear layer, which results in an interaction of PVC-induced vortices and flame. This interaction considerably influences the measured level of NOx emissions, which grows with increasing PVC amplitude in a perfectly premixed flame. Nearly, the same increase is measured for partially premixed conditions. This is in contrast to previous studies, where the PVC is assumed to reduce the NOx emissions due to vortex-enhanced mixing.

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