Internal Combustion Wave Rotors for Gas Turbine Engine Enhancement

S. SUDHAKAR BABU, K. Rajgopal

Abstract


Recent research in internal combustion wave rotor technology proposed operating cycles with deflagrative and detonative combustion. Earlier research, examining primarily deflagration, sought to improve on pressure exchanger wave rotor cycles topping a conventional  gas turbine. Turbulent premixed combustion  with reasonable flame speeds is predicted to allow operating frequency comparable to pressure exchanger cycles. Cycles that completely evacuate the wave channel to high- and low-pressure turbines may require  faster  combustion.  More  recent  research  on  detonation cycles followed developments  in pulse detonation  engine technology.  While  detonative  combustion  is extremely  fast,  the wave cycle must isolate peak pressures and velocities from turbomachinery.  Ignition presents a degree of uncertainty  for all designs,  and  fuel  distribution  control  is  a  critical  strategy.  The relative merits and challenges of various modes of combustion and cycles  are  discussed  for  typical  applications  in  propulsion  and power generation. Research and development needs, and recommended experimental strategies are described and evaluated.


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