Large Eddy Simulations of Combustor Liner Flows

PI Name: 
Anne Dord
PI Email: 
anne.dord@ge.com
Institution: 
GE Global Research
Allocation Program: 
INCITE
Allocation Hours at ALCF: 
75 Million
Year: 
2014
Research Domain: 
Engineering

Aviation gas turbine engines are an essential part of the transportation industry. In 2012, the commercial aviation industry was estimated to spend $207 billion on fuel, or about 33% of their operating costs. That amounts to approximately 5 million barrels of oil per day, or about 6% of the world’s total oil usage. Aviation gas turbine engines are also responsible for 2% of the world’s CO2 production and 3% of the world’s harmful greenhouse gas emissions. As the commercial aviation industry continues to grow and oil prices continue to rise, these impacts are forecasted to continue to increase for the foreseeable future.

For this multiyear INCITE project, researchers will study the complex near-wall physics of combustor liner flows with a focus on aircraft engine applications. Understanding and predicting the aero-thermal flow field in combustors is a key step in designing and optimizing the architecture for better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and improved performance. The proposed calculations will require significantly greater computational resources than those traditionally used in industry, so the researchers sought out the DOE’s leadership-class supercomputers for this project.

The first group of calculations will use large eddy simulations to model the behavior of an idealized configuration representative of combustor liners. This will enable modelers to generate high-fidelity datasets that will be used to improve the low-fidelity models currently available to designers.

The same approach will then be applied to a more complex configuration, involving a larger domain, and more realistic flow characteristics, representative of large-scale flow unsteadiness present in aircraft engines. Finally, the findings will be applied to an actual multi-cup General Electric rig, providing a vehicle to test the improved models developed in the first two phases of the program. This will give designers a better understanding of the complex unsteady processes governing the aero-thermal field around combustor liners.