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Experimental Investigation Into the High Altitude Relight of a Three-Cup Combustor Sector

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael J. Denton, Samir B. Tambe, San-Mou Jeng

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Paper No. GT2018-77146, pp. V04BT04A055; 12 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2018: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 4B: Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions
  • Oslo, Norway, June 11–15, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5106-7
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


The altitude relight of a gas turbine combustor is an FAA and EASA regulation which dictates the successful re-ignition of an engine and its proper spool-up after an in-flight shutdown. Combustor pressure loss, ambient pressure, ambient temperature, and equivalence ratio were all studied on a full-scale, 3-cup, single-annular aviation combustor sector to create an ignition map. The flame development process was studied through the implementation of high-speed video. Testing was conducted by placing the sector horizontally upstream of an air jet ejector in a high altitude relight testing facility. Air was maintained at room temperature for varying pressure, and then the cryogenic heat exchanger was fed with liquid nitrogen to chill the air down to a limit of −50 deg F, corresponding with an altitude of 30,000 feet. Fuel was injected at constant equivalence ratios across multiple operating conditions, giving insight into the ignition map of the combustor sector. Results of testing indicated difficulty in achieving ignition at high altitudes for pressure drops greater than 2%, while low pressure drops show adequate performance. Introducing low temperatures to simulate the ambient conditions yielded a worse outcome, with all conditions having poor results except for 1%. High-speed video of the flame development process during the relight conditions across all altitudes yielded a substantial effect of the pressure drop on ignitability of the combustor. An increase in pressure drop was associated with a decrease in the likelihood of ignition success, especially at increasing altitudes. The introduction of the reduced temperature effect exacerbated this effect, further hurting ignition. High velocity regions in the combustor were detrimental to the ignition, and high area, low velocity regions aided greatly. The flame tended to settle into the corner recirculation zone and recirculate back into the center-toroidal recirculation zone (CTRZ), spreading downstream and likewise into adjacent swirl cups. These tests demonstrate the need for new combustor designs to consider adding large recirculation zones for combustor flame stability that will aid in relight requirements.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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