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Dynamic instabilities in staged combustion

T.J. Flynn, T.A. Fuller
McDermott Technology, Inc.
Alliance OH 44601-2196

C.S. Daw
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Knoxville TN 37932-6472

C.E.A. Finney, K. Nguyen
University of Tennessee
Knoxville TN 37996-2210

To meet emissions standards and to increase efficiency, the electric-power industry is employing low-NOx burners utilizing staged combustion. Staged combustion produces less thermal NOx because air is added incrementally to fuel to achieve low flame temperatures, but the increased dynamical complexity of the staging process results in combustion instabilities. With increased staging, unstable flame pulsations lead to spikes in NOx, CO and unburned hydrocarbon emissions and even to flame-out. The behavior of highly staged flames is nonlinearly sensitive to small changes in parameters such as fuel-air mixing and to the steadiness and temperature of fuel and air feeds.

We investigate dynamic instabilities in a laboratory-scale, natural-gas staged burner and a full-scale coal-fired burner. We analyze optical- and acoustic-sensor measurements with nonlinear and symbolic time-series techniques, with particular regard for characterizing flame-flicker and liftoff patterns in the stability limits of each burner.

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Flynn TJ, Fuller TA, Daw CS, Nguyen K, Finney CEA (1999). Dynamic instabilities in staged combustion. Fifth Experimental Chaos Conference (Orlando, Florida USA; 1999 June 28 - July 01), Poster 25.
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