It is well known that the process of vortex breakdown plays an important role in establishing the near-field aerodynamic characteristics of fuel injectors, influencing fuel/air mixing and flame stability. The precise nature of the vortex breakdown can take on several forms, which have been shown in previous papers to include both a precessing vortex core (PVC) and the appearance of multiple helical vortices formed in the swirl stream shear layer. The unsteady dynamics of these particular features can play an important role in combustion induced oscillations. The present paper reports an experimental investigation, using PIV and hot-wire-anemometry, to document variations in the relative strength of PVC and helical vortex patterns as the configuration of a generic fuel injector is altered. Examples of geometric changes which have been investigated include: • The combination of an annular swirl stream with and without a central jet; • variation in geometric details of the swirler passage, e.g. alteration in the swirler entry slots to change swirl number, and variations in the area ratio of the swirler passage. The results show that these geometric variations can influence: • the axial location of the origin of the helical vortices (from inside to outside the fuel injector); • the strength of the PVC. For example, in a configuration with no central jet (swirl number S = 0.72) the helical vortex pattern was much less coherent, but the PVC was much stronger than when a central jet was present. These changes modify the magnitude of the turbulence energy in the fuel injector near field dramatically, and hence have an important influence on fuel air mixing patterns.

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