Lean premixed prevaporised (LPP) combustion can reduce NOx emissions from gas turbines, but often leads to combustion instability. Acoustic waves produce fluctuations in heat release, for instance by perturbing the fuel–air ratio or flame shape. These heat fluctuations will in turn generate more acoustic waves and in some situations self-sustained oscillations can result.
A linear model for thermoacoustic oscillations in LPP combustors is described. A thin annular combustor is assumed and so circumferential modes are included but radial dependence is ignored. The geometry consists of straight ducts joined by short regions of area change. Perturbations to the flow can be thought of as a combination of acoustic, entropy and vorticity waves. The development of these waves along the straight ducts is found using a propagation matrix approach. At the entrance to the combustion chamber, a flame model is used in which the unsteady heat release is related to fluctuations in fuel–air ratio. Various possible inlet and outlet conditions are described. The model is then applied to a simplified example based on a sector rig. The resonant modes are found numerically and compared with the frequencies that occurred in experiments.