MSE Research Project Database

Understanding sound generation in gas turbine combustors

Project Leader: Mohsen Talei
Primary Contact: Mohsen Talei (
Keywords: combustion and emissions; energy efficiency; fluid mechanics
Disciplines: Mechanical Engineering
Domains: Optimisation of resources and infrastructure

Gas turbines play an important role in areas such as electricity production and transportation. Reducing the fuel consumption and emission produced in these devices is therefore a central area of research. Lean-premixed combustion is an attractive technology to address this problem.  In this technique, fuel and air are mixed efficiently before the combustion allowing a lower temperature inside the combustor and therefore avoiding formation of harmful pollutions such as NOx. However, these combustors are susceptible to a phenomenon known as thermoacoustic instability. This significant but poorly understood problem is usually initiated due to sound generated by the turbulent flame inside the combustor. The reflected acoustic waves from the combustor’s walls and nozzle interact with the flame and can cause combustion instability. This phenomenon can lead to failure of the combustor in extreme cases. 
The aim of this project is to gain an improved understanding of sound generation in gas turbine combustors using theory and numerical simulation.  This project will involve simulation of premixed flames and therefore a strong background in combustion and computational fluid dynamics is desirable.