The vast majority of gas turbine combustor systems employ swirl injectors to produce a central
toroidal recirculation zone (CTRZ) which entrains and recirculates a portion of the hot combustion
gases to provide continuous ignition to the incoming air-fuel mix. In addition to these
primary functions, swirl injectors often generate multiple aerodynamic instability modes which
are helical in nature with characteristic frequencies that can differ by many orders of magnitude.
If any of these frequencies are consistent with prevalent acoustic modes within the combustor
there is a potential for flow-acoustic coupling which may reinforce acoustic oscillations and drive
combustion instabilities via the Rayleigh criterion. The aerodynamic performance of the swirl injector
is thus of great practical importance to the design and development of combustion systems
and there is a strong desire within industry for reliable computational methods that can predict
this highly unsteady behaviour. This assessment can be made under isothermal conditions which
avoids the complex interactions that occur in reacting flow.
The goal of the present work was to compare and contrast the performance of Unsteady Reynolds-
Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) and Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) CFD methodologies for a
combustion system equipped with a derivative of an industrial Turbomeca swirl injector as this
exhibits similar unsteady aerodynamic behaviour under reacting and isothermal conditions. (Continues...).
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.