In a modern annular aircraft gas turbine combustor, the phenomenon of lean blow out (LBO) is of major concern. To understand the physical processes involved in LBO, a research combustor was designed and developed to specifically reproduce recirculation patterns and LBO processes that occur in a real gas turbine combustor.
A total of eight leading design criteria were established for the research combustor. This paper discusses the combustor design constraints, aerothermochemical design, choice of combustor configurations, combustor sizing, mechanical design, combustor light-off, and combustor acoustic considerations that went into the final design and fabrication. Tests on this combustor reveal a complex sequence of events such as flame lift-off, intermittency, and onset of axial flame instability leading to lean blowout. The combustor operates satisfactorily and is yielding benchmark quality data for validating and refining computer models for predicting LBO in real engine combustors.