Premixed combustion is the commonly adopted technique to reduce NOx emissions from gas turbine combustion chambers, but it has been proved to be susceptible to thermo-acoustic instabilities, known as humming. These self-excited oscillations can reduce the efficiency of the turbine and generate structural damage to the combustion chamber. One of the proposed suppression methods lies in the application of Helmholtz resonators to the combustion chambers. This passive technique is advantageous in carrying out appreciable oscillation damping with modest costs and long life, but it is effective only in a restricted range of frequency, close to resonator eigenfrequency. Therefore, in order to design effective resonators, it is necessary to know the eigenfrequencies of the annular combustion chamber, because combustion instabilities arise in correspondence of these frequencies. Acoustic analysis of combustion chamber and its connected components may be carried out by means of Finite Element Method, but it requires a considerable computational effort due to the complex geometry of the complete system, which needs to be meshed by a refined grid. A combined numerical and experimental technique allows the authors to increase computational efficiency by adopting coarser and more regular meshes. First acoustic behavior of annular combustion chamber has been studied by means of numerical simulations and, therefore, the influence of the burners has been taken into account by substituting burner geometries by experimentally measured acoustic impedances. Then some Helmholtz resonators, tuned to one eigenfrequency of the combustion chamber, have been designed and manufactured. Their acoustic impedances have been experimentally measured and applied as boundary conditions into FE simulations of the annular chamber. In this way the acoustic pressure field inside the damper-equipped combustion chamber has been analyzed. Numerical simulations of the annular chamber, with burner and damper impedances applied, show that Helmholtz resonators are effective in oscillation suppression in correspondence of their resonance frequency, but may produce the splitting of the acoustic pressure peak of the chamber into two new peaks, whose frequencies lie on either side of the original common eigenfrequency. The amplitudes of these two new pressure peaks appear lower than the amplitude of the baseline one. The proposed technique can be used as an effective design tool: acoustic analysis of annular combustion chamber, with burner impedance applied, produces accurate indications about its acoustic behavior and allows the design of new passive suppression systems and the evaluation of their performances.

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