Combustion Instability – Faculty: Jacqueline O’Connor, Dom Santavicca
Combustion instabilities have plagued the development and operation of high performance combustion technologies for almost a century. These instabilities, the result of a coupling between flame heat release fluctuations and resonant acoustics inside the combustion chamber, have proven to be destructive to engine hardware, burdensome on engine operating costs, and detrimental to engine performance and emissions. In particular, instabilities have caused major challenges in the development of lean, premixed combustors used in low NOx gas turbines. Research in this area will investigate instability mechanisms in a variety of realistic flame configurations, applicable to both gas turbine main combustors and augmentors. High-speed laser diagnostics and acoustic techniques will be used to measure both flow and flame dynamics in order to build fundamental understanding of combustion instabilities and provide validation-quality data for experimental/modeling partnerships.
Fuel Flexibility for Power Generation – Faculty: Jacqueline O’Connor, Dom Santavicca