Gas Turbine Engines – Combustion Section (Part Two)

in Aircraft Engines

The liners of the can-type combustors have perforations of various sizes and shapes, each hole having a specific purpose and effect on flame propagation within the liner. [Figure 1-52] The air entering the combustion chamber is divided by the proper holes, louvers, and slots into two main streams—primary and secondary air. The primary or combustion air is directed inside the liner at the front end, where it mixes with the fuel and is burned. Secondary or cooling air passes between the outer casing and the liner and joins the combustion gases through larger holes toward the rear of the liner, cooling the combustion gases from about 3,500 °F to near 1,500 °F. To aid in atomization of the fuel, holes are provided around the fuel nozzle in the dome or inlet end of the can-type combustor liner. Louvers are also provided along the axial length of the liners to direct a cooling layer of air along the inside wall of the liner. This layer of air also tends to control the flame pattern by keeping it centered in the liner, thereby preventing burning of the liner walls. Figure 1-55 illustrates the flow of air through the louvers in the annular combustion chamber.

Figure 1-52. Can-type combustion chamber.

Figure 1-52. Can-type combustion chamber.

Figure 1-55. Annular combustion chamber liner.

Figure 1-55. Annular combustion chamber liner.

Some provision is always made in the combustion chamber case for installation of a fuel nozzle. The fuel nozzle delivers the fuel into the liner in a finely atomized spray. The more the spray is atomized, the more rapid and efficient the burning process is.

Two types of fuel nozzle currently being used in the various types of combustion chambers are the simplex nozzle and the duplex nozzle.

The spark igniter plugs of the annular combustion chamber are the same basic type used in the can-type combustion chambers, although construction details may vary. There are usually two igniters mounted on the boss provided on each of the chamber housings. The igniters must be long enough to protrude from the housing into the combustion chamber.

The burners are interconnected by projecting flame tubes which facilitate the engine-starting process as mentioned previously in the can-type combustion chamber familiarization. The flame tubes function identically to those previously discussed, differing only in construction details.

Figure 1-56. Can-annular combustion chamber components and arrangement.

Figure 1-56. Can-annular combustion chamber components and arrangement.

This type of combustion chamber is not used in modern engines. The forward face of each chamber presents six apertures, which align with the six fuel nozzles of the corresponding fuel nozzle cluster. [Figure 1-56] These nozzles are the dual-orifice (duplex) type requiring the use of a flow-divider (pressurizing valve), as mentioned in the can-type combustion chamber discussion. Around each nozzle are preswirl vanes for imparting a swirling motion to the fuel spray, which results in better atomization of the fuel, better burning, and efficiency. The swirl vanes function to provide two effects imperative to proper flame propagation:

  1. High flame speed—better mixing of air and fuel, ensuring spontaneous burning.
  2. Low air velocity axially—swirling eliminates overly rapid flame movement axially.

The swirl vanes greatly aid flame propagation, since a high degree of turbulence in the early combustion and cooling stages is desirable. The vigorous mechanical mixing of the fuel vapor with the primary air is necessary, since mixing by diffusion alone is too slow. This same mechanical mixing is also established by other means, such as placing coarse screens in the diffuser outlet, as is the case in most axialflow engines.

The can-annular combustion chambers also must have the required fuel drain valves located in two or more of the bottom chambers, assuring proper drainage and elimination of residual fuel burning at the next start.

The flow of air through the holes and louvers of the canannular chambers, is almost identical with the flow through other types of burners. [Figure 1-56] Special baffling is used to swirl the combustion airflow and to give it turbulence. Figure 1-57 shows the flow of combustion air, metal cooling air, and the diluent or gas cooling air. The air flow direction is indicated by the arrows.

Figure 1-57. Airflow through a can-annular combustion chamber.

Figure 1-57. Airflow through a can-annular combustion chamber.

The basic components of an annular combustion chamber are a housing and a liner, as in the can type. The liner consists of an undivided circular shroud extending all the way around the outside of the turbine shaft housing. The chamber may be constructed of heat-resistant materials, which are sometimes coated with thermal barrier materials, such as ceramic materials. The annular combustion chamber is illustrated in Figure 1-58. Modern turbine engines usually have an annular combustion chamber. As can be seen in Figure 1-59, the annular combustion chamber also uses louvers and holes to prevent the flame from contacting the side of the combustion chamber.

Figure 1-58. Annular combustion with chamber ceramic coating.

Figure 1-58. Annular combustion with chamber ceramic coating.

Figure 1-59. Combustion chamber louvers and holes.

Figure 1-59. Combustion chamber louvers and holes.

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