Lean Blowout Mitigation in Swirl Stabilized Premixed Flames
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Lean, premixed combustion offers a practical approach for reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, but increases the risk of lean blowout (LBO) in gas turbines. Active control techniques are therefore sought which can stabilize a lean flame and prevent LBO. The present work has resulted in the development of flame detection, dynamic modeling, blowout margin estimation, and actuation and control techniques. The flame s acoustic emissions were bandpass filtered at select frequencies to detect localized extinction events, which were found to increase in number near LBO. The lean flame was also found to intermittently burst into a transient tornado configuration in which the flame s inner recirculation zone would collapse. The localized extinctions were dynamically linked to the tornado bursts using a linear, first order model. The model was subsequently applied to predict tornado bursts based on optically detected localized extinction events. It was found that both localized extinctions and tornado bursts are by themselves Poisson processes; the exponential distribution of their spacing times could be used to determine blowout probability. Blowout mitigation was achieved by redistributing the fuel flow between the annular swirlers and central preinjection pilot, both of which were premixed. Rule-based and lead-lag control architectures were developed and validated.