Gas turbine (GT) flames at lean operating conditions are susceptible to instabilities that can lead to unsteady operation, flame extinction, and thermoacoustic oscillations. High speed (10 kHz) laser and optical diagnostic techniques have been used to investigate the effect of fuel staging on the mechanisms involved in such instabilities and the overall performance of a gas turbine model combustor. The GT burner used in this study consists of coaxial swirlers which allow for fuel staging capability, where the fuel is varied from 100% to 20% fuel injection in the inner swirler. The burner is equipped with a combustion chamber with large quartz windows, allowing for the application of optical and laser diagnostics. Simultaneous high speed OH Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) and OH* chemiluminescence (CL) imaging, exhaust gas sampling and acoustic measurements were applied to characterize the flames and determine the operability limits of the combustor. Methane air flames at atmospheric pressure have been investigated at a constant thermal power of 58 kW. The global equivalence ratio was kept constant, while the fuel staging was varied. The bulk flow velocity at the exit plane was kept constant at 20 m/s. Simultaneous high speed particle image velocity (PIV) and OH PLIF measurements were performed at a repetition rate of 10 kHz on specifically chosen flames with a fixed staging and equivalence ratio. This paper will present the flame and the flow field structure resolved using the kHz measurement technique. The interaction between the velocity field and the flame front marked by the OH LIF will be presented. The mean PIV image provides the location of the inner and outer recirculation zones. The flame structure presented in this paper will also show the effectiveness of fuel mixing as the staging is varied. The changes in flame shape with variation in fuel staging is determined using the OH* chemiluminescence images. As the fuel flow in the inner swirler is reduced, the NOx and CO emissions also reduce and reach a minimum at a staging of 45% fuel being injected in the inner swirler. As fuel injection in the outer swirler increases beyond 60% the NOx and CO emissions start also increasing.

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