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Nonlinear dynamics and control analysis of combustion instabilities based on the “Flame Describing Function” (FDF)

Abstract : This thesis is concerned with an investigation of combustion instabilities in premixed combustors. This problem has been the subject of a continuous effort in relation with the many issues encountered in practical systems like those used in propulsion and energy production. Combustion instabilities usually arise from the coupling between combustion and acoustic eigenmodes of the system. In most cases such resonances lead to vibrations, structural fatigue and intensified heat fluxes to the chamber walls. The first part of this thesis pursues the development of prediction methods for combustion instabilities and the associated nonlinear phenomena such as limit cycles establishment, triggering, mode switching and hysteresis. The aim is to delineate physical mechanisms and develop analytical methods dedicated to prediction. The theoretical framework relies on the “harmonic balance” formalism well known in the domain of control and which has been adopted more recently in combustion instability studies carried out at EM2C, CNRS laboratory. Through this concept, it is possible to take into account the evolution of the flame response as a function of amplitude. This flame response, depending on frequency and amplitude, extends the flame transfer function principle and is designated as the “Flame Describing Function” (FDF). The development of the FDF framework is pursued in the present study. The experimental setup which exemplifies combustion instabilities and serves to validate the method has generic features as it comprises in an idealized version, all the parts found in practical systems : a feeding manifold delivering a mixture of methane and air, a multipoint injector made of a perforated plate anchoring a collection of small laminar conical flames and a flame tube made of quartz which confines the combustion zone. The downstream boundary of the system is open. This device allows a simplified analysis and provides a wide variety of configurations through the continuous modification of the feeding manifold length which is bounded by a piston on the upstream and through changes of the flame tube lengths. Systematic comparison between theoretical results and well controlled experiments is undertaken. Depending on the geometry, the setup exhibits a large variety of unstable modes which are classified in terms of their limit cycle behavior using tools from dynamical system theory. It is shown that limit cycles with constant amplitude are well predicted by the unified FDF methodology. For some configurations, the experiment reveals limit cycles characterized by time variable amplitude and frequency. One finds situations where the oscillation is coupled by multiple modes leading either to regular amplitude variations or more irregular evolutions with a “galloping” pattern as a function of time. For this special type of limit cycle, the FDF indicates the range of the onset, but is not able to fully describe these complex limit cycles. These oscillations require a time domain state space analysis which is not addressed in this manuscript. The experimental database may be of value for further work in this direction. The second part of this thesis deals with control methods for instabilities. One specifically considers damping systems relying on perforated plates biased by a flow (BFP : “Bias Flow Perforate”). These systems are particularly interesting because they can be used to cancel low frequency oscillations which are otherwise difficult to reduce through passive control methods. This BFP design relies on recent work carried out at EM2C, CNRS laboratory which extends the frequency range where the system is effective. The experimental study and the associated FDF calculations are used to delineate the possibilities of such systems and uncover conditions required for an effective damping of oscillations. This study provides indications on the practical application of BFPs.
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Frédéric Boudy. Nonlinear dynamics and control analysis of combustion instabilities based on the “Flame Describing Function” (FDF). Other. Ecole Centrale Paris, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012ECAP0056⟩. ⟨tel-00870770⟩



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