Thesis-2018-Uyanwaththa.pdf (59.96 MB)

CFD modelling of gas turbine combustion processes

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posted on 31.08.2018 by Asela R. Uyanwaththa
Stationary gas turbines manufacturers and operators are under constant scrutiny to both reduce environmentally harmful emissions and obtain efficient combustion. Numerical simulations have become an integral part of the development and optimisation of gas turbine combustors. In this thesis work, the gas turbine combustion process is analysed in two parts, a study on air-fuel mixing and turbulent combustion. For computational fluid dynamic analysis work the open-source CFD code OpenFOAM and STAR-CCM+ are used. A fuel jet injected to cross-flowing air flow is simplified air-fuel mixing arrangement, and this problem is analysed numerically in the first part of the thesis using both Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) method and Large Eddy Simulation (LES) methods. Several turbulence models are compared against experimental data in this work, and the complex turbulent vortex structures their effect on mixing field prediction is observed. Furthermore, the numerical methods are extended to study twin jets in cross-flow interaction which is relevant in predicting air-fuel mixing with arrays of fuel injection nozzles. LES methods showed good results by resolving the complex turbulent structures, and the interaction of two jets is also visualised. In this work, all three turbulent combustion regimes non-premixed, premixed, partially premixed are modelled using different combustion models. Hydrogen blended fuels have drawn particular interest recently due to enhanced flame stabilisation, reduced CO2 emissions, and is an alternative method to store energy from renewable energy sources. Therefore, the well known Sydney swirl flame which uses CH4: H2 blended fuel mixture is modelled using the steady laminar flamelet model. This flame has been found challenging to model numerically by previous researchers, and in this work, this problem has been addressed with improved combustion modelling approach with tabulated chemistry. Recognizing that the current and future gas turbine combustors operate on a mixed combustion regime during its full operational cycle, combustion simulations of premixed/partially premixed flames are also performed in this thesis work. Dynamical artificially thickened flame model is implemented in OpenFOAM and validated using propagating and stationary premixed flames. Flamelet Generated Manifold (FGM) methods are used in the modelling of turbulent stratified flames which is a relatively new field of under investigation, and both experimental and numerical analysis is required to understand the physics. The recent experiments of the Cambridge stratified burner are studied using the FGM method in this thesis work, and good agreement is obtained for mixing field and temperature field predictions.


EPSRC and E.ON UK plc (CASE studentship).



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© A.R. Uyanwaththa

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.