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Aeroengine combustors
Latest advances and future strategies

More than 60 combustion experts met recently in Florence

Tags: Air

On 17-18 September 2012, more than 60 specialists of combustion gathered at the University of Florence to share the latest research results on state of the art and Low NOx technologies for aeroengine combustors. NOx is a gas that results from the combustion of kerosene with air and can be harmful above a certain concentration. The engine research community is currently pursuing the ACARE goal (Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe) of a reduction of the NOx level by 80% between 2000 and 2020. NOx emissions are regulated by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) with increasingly stringent requirements.

Lower NOx production in the combustion chamber can be obtained by a leaner (smaller) amount of air mixed with the kerosene but this tends to create instabilities. If large, these instabilities could affect the mechanical integrity of the combustor. Also, a lean combustor should guarantee the same level of safety than current 'rich burn' combustor i.e., for example, one should be able to relight the combustor in case of extinction under adverse conditions such as those encountered at cruise altitude.

While detailed results of two EU-funded projects KIAI and TECC-AE were presented and discussed, overviews of the EU-funded projects FIRST, LEMCOTEC and IMPACT-AE were also given. Altogether, this represent more than 25 MEur of EU-funding invested over 7 years for the clean combustors of tomorrow's aircraft engines.

The event was an excellent occasion to disseminate a wide range of efforts tackling the complex and interlinked scientific aspects of combustion: aerodynamics, heat transfer and cooling, fuel atomisation, chemistry of combustion, acoustics, etc. Advanced modelling methods, experiments and demonstration were presented which are able to reproduce transient phenomena such as ignition or unsteady behaviour of the flow field. At the same time that these methods allow to progress along the low NOX capability, they also target faster design cycle and the assessment of the safety of the investigated designs.

'The University or Florence is very proud to contribute to this European effort with advanced experiments and computational techniques', said Prof Alberto Tesi, the Rector of the University of Florence.

'The EC is very pleased to see a coordinated dissemination efforts from the most relevant research projects in this field. This enhances the impact of the research projects results' said Rémy Dénos, EC project officer at DG Research and Innovation.

'This workshop is not only the occasion to present the latest advances in the field of combustion, but also allows to discuss about strategies to reach the new and very ambitious goal of 90% NOx reduction between 2000 and 2050 set out in the new ACARE Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda', said Sebastien Roux, Coordinator of the KIAI and TECC-AE projects at Safran.