The flame structure and characteristics generated by an industrial low emission, lean premixed, fuel swirl nozzle were analyzed for understanding combustion oscillations. The experimental facility is located at the Advanced Propulsion and Power Laboratory (APPL) at Virginia Tech. The experiments were carried out in a model optical can combustor operating at atmospheric pressures. Low-frequency oscillations (<100 Hz) were observed during the reaction as opposed to no reaction, cold flow test cases. The objective of this paper is to understand the frequency and magnitude of oscillations due to combustion using high-speed imaging and associate them with corresponding structure or feature of the flame. Flame images were obtained using a Photron Fastcam SA4 high-speed camera at 500 frames per second. The experiments were conducted at equivalence ratios of 0.65, 0.75; different Reynolds numbers of 50K, 75K; and three pilot fuel to main fuel ratios of 0%, 3%, 6%. In this study, Reynolds number was based on the throat diameter of the fuel nozzle. Since the time averaged flame images are not adequate representation of the flame structures, proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) was applied to the flame images to extract the dominant features. The spatiotemporal dynamics of the images can be decomposed into their constituent modes of maximum spatial variance using POD so that the dominant features of the flame can be observed. The frequency of the dominant flame structures, as captured by the POD modes of the flame acquisitions, were consistent with pressure measurements taken at the exit of the combustor. Thus, the oscillations due to combustion can be visualized using POD. POD was further applied to high-speed images taken during instabilities. Specifically, the instabilities discussed in this paper are those encountered when the equivalence ratio is reduced to the levels approaching lean blowout (LBO). As the equivalence ratio is reduced to near blowout regime, it triggers low-frequency high amplitude instabilities. These low-frequency instabilities are visible as the flapping of the flame. The frequencies of the dominant POD modes are consistent with pressure measurements recorded during these studies.

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