Environmental compatibility requires low emission burners for gas turbine power plants. In the past, significant progress has been made developing low NOx and CO burners by introducing lean premixed techniques in combination with annular combustion chambers. Unfortunately, these burners often have a more pronounced tendency to produce combustion-driven oscillations than conventional burner designs. The oscillations may be excited to such an extent that the risk of engine failure occurs.

For this reason, the prediction of these thermoacoustic instabilities in the design phase of an engine becomes more and more important. A method based on linear acoustic four-pole elements has been developed to predict instabilities of the ring combustor of the 3A-series gas turbines (Krüger et al. (1999b)). The complex network includes the whole combustion system starting from both compressor outlet and fuel supply system and ending at the turbine inlet. The flame frequency response was determined by a transient numerical simulation (step-function approach).

Based on this method, possible improvements for the gas turbine are evaluated in this paper.

First, the burner impedance is predicted theoretically and compared with results from measurements on a test rig for validation of the prediction approach. Next, the burner impedance in a gas turbine combustion system is analyzed and improved thermoacoustically. Stability analyses for the gas turbine combustion system show the positive impact of this improvement.

Second, the interaction of the acoustic parts of the gas turbine system has been detuned systematically in circumferential direction of the annular combustion chamber in order to find a more stable configuration. Stability analyses show the positive effect of this measure as well. The results predicted are compared with measurements from engine operation.

The comparisons of prediction and measurements show the applicability of the prediction method in order to evaluate the thermoacoustic stability of the combustor as well as to define possible countermeasures.

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