This experimental study investigates the influence of fuel distribution on ignition outcome during high-altitude relight of a gas turbine. Planar laser-induced fluorescence is used to image fuel inside a lean direct-injection combustor under realistic conditions. A novel apparatus is developed to permit planar laser-induced fluorescence imaging, in which large quantities of poorly atomized fuel impinges on the internal surfaces of the combustor. Results reveal high variability in atomization quality. In the absence of flame, small droplets are confined to areas of recirculating flow, whereas large droplets impact on the walls. All fuel is introduced through a pilot air-blast atomizer close to the injector centerline. However, comparatively little fuel is apparent near the igniter tip because the outside swirlers of the fuel injector create a fast-moving stream of fuel-free air that flows directly below the upper combustor wall. The droplet size and fuel concentration in the main recirculation zone do not differ radically at test conditions with markedly different fuel-to-air ratios, suggesting that turbulent straining is a more important factor than equivalence ratio in the failure of ignition when the airflow rate is high. In the presence of flame, medium-sized burning droplets are observed close to the injector centerline. Flame interference resulting from fluorescence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is apparent, but small, suggesting that kerosene planar laser-induced fluorescence is a useful tool for the analysis of all stages of altitude relight. Copyright © 2013 by R. W. Read, J. W. Rogerson, and S. Hochgreb.
- Drop formation
- Gas turbines
- Laser produced plasmas
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons