Hydrogen micromix is a candidate combustion technology for hydrogen aviation gas turbines. The introduction and development of new combustion technologies always carries the risk of suffering from damaging high amplitude thermoacoustic pressure oscillations. This was a particular problem with the introduction of lean premixed combustion systems to land based power generation gas turbines.
There is limited published information on the thermoacoustic behaviour of such hydrogen micromix combustors. Diffusion flames are less prone to flashback and autoignition problems than premixed flames and conventional diffusion flames are less prone to combustion dynamics issues. However, with the high laminar flame speed of hydrogen, lean fuel air ratio (FAR) and very compact flames, the risk of combustion dynamics for micromix flames should not be neglected and a comparison of the likely thermoacoustic behaviour of micromix combustors and kerosene fueled aviation combustors would inform the early stage design of engine realistic micromix combustors.
This study develops a micromix combustor concept suitable for a modern three spool, high bypass ratio engine and derives the acoustic Flame Transfer Function (FTF) at typical engine operating conditions for top of climb, take-off, cruise, and end of runway. The FTF is derived using CFD and FTF models based on a characteristic flame delay. The relative thermoacoustic behaviour for the four conditions is assessed using a low order acoustic network code. The comparisons suggest that the risk of thermoacoustic instabilities associated with longitudinal waves at low frequencies (below 1kHz) is small, but that higher frequency longitudinal modes could be excited. The sensitivity of the combustor thermoacoustic behaviour to key combustor dimensions and characteristic time delay is also investigated and suggests that higher frequency longitudinal modes can be significantly influenced by combustion system design.
The characteristic time delay and thus FTF for a Lean Premixed Prevapourised (LPP) kerosene combustor is derived from information in the literature and the thermoacoustic behaviour of the micromix combustor relative to that of this kerosene combustor is determined using the same low order modelling approach. The comparison suggests that the micromix combustor is much less likely to produce thermoacoustic instabilities at low frequencies (below 1kHz), than the LPP combustor even though the risk in the LPP combustor is small.
It is encouraging that this simple approach used in a preliminary design suggests that the micromix combustor has lower risk at low frequency than a kerosene combustor and that the risk of higher frequency longitudinal modes can be reduced by appropriate combustion system design. However, more detailed design, more rigorous thermoacoustic analysis and experimental validation are needed to confirm this.