The impact of compressor exit conditions on fuel injector flows

This paper examines the effect of compressor generated inlet conditions on the air flow uniformity through lean burn fuel injectors. Any resulting nonuniformity in the injector flow field can impact on local fuel air ratios and hence emissions performance. The geometry considered is typical of the lean burn systems currently being proposed for future, low emission aero engines. Initially, Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) predictions were used to examine the flow field development between compressor exit and the inlet to the fuel injector. This enabled the main flow field features in this region to be characterized along with identification of the various stream-tubes captured by the fuel injector passages. The predictions indicate the resulting flow fields entering the injector passages are not uniform. This is particularly evident in the annular passages furthest away from the injector centerline which pass the majority of the flow which subsequently forms the main reaction zone within the flame tube. Detailed experimental measurements were also undertaken on a fully annular facility incorporating an axial compressor and lean burn combustion system. The measurements were obtained at near atmospheric pressure/temperatures and under nonreacting conditions. Time-resolved and time-averaged data were obtained at various locations and included measurements of the flow field issuing from the various fuel injector passages. In this way any nonuniformity in these flow fields could be quantified. In conjunction with the numerical data, the sources of nonuniformities in the injector exit plane were identified. For example, a large scale bulk variation (+/−10%) of the injector flow field was attributed to the development of the flow field upstream of the injector, compared with localized variations (+/−5%) that were generated by the injector swirl vane wakes. Using this data the potential effects on fuel injector emissions performance can be assessed.