Methodology for the Numerical Prediction of Pollutant Formation in Gas Turbine Combustors and Associated Validation Experiments


F. Dupoirieux, N. Bertier, C. Guin, L.-H. Dorey (ONERA)
K.P. Geigle, C. Eberle, P. Gerlinger (DLR)

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For aircraft engine manufacturers the formation of pollutants such as NOx or soot particles is an important issue because the regulations on pollutant emissions are becoming increasingly stringent. In order to comply with these regulations, new concepts of gas turbine combustors must be developed with the help of simulation tools. In this paper we present two different strategies, proposed by ONERA and DLR respectively, to simulate soot or NOx formation in combustors. The first one is based on simple chemistry models allowing significant effort to be spent on the LES description of the flow, while the second one is based on more accurate, but also more expensive, models for soot chemistry and physics. Combustion experiments dedicated to the validation of these strategies are described next: The first one, performed at DLR, was operated at a semi-technical scale and aimed at very accurate and comprehensive information on soot formation and oxidation under well-defined experimental conditions; the second one, characterized at ONERA, was aimed at reproducing the severe conditions encountered in realistic gas turbine combustors. In the third part of the paper the results of combustion simulations are compared to those of the validation experiments. It is shown that a fine description of the physics and chemistry involved in the pollutant formation is necessary but not sufficient to obtain quantitative predictions of pollutant formation. An accurate calculation of the turbulent reactive flow interacting with pollutant formation and influencing dilution, oxidation and transport is also required: when the temperature field is correctly reproduced, as is the case of the ONERA simulation of the DLR combustor, the prediction of soot formation is
quite satisfactory while difficulty in reproducing the temperature field in the TLC combustor leads to overestimations of NOx and soot concentrations.