An Analytical Approach to Understanding the “Pressure Gain” Combustor

[+] Author and Article Information
M. C. Janus, G. A. Richards, R. S. Gemmen

U.S. Department of Energy, Morgantown Energy Technology Center, P.O. Box 880, 3610 Collins Ferry Road, Morgantown, WV 26505

E. K. Johnson

West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505

J. Energy Resour. Technol 119(1), 49-54 (Mar 01, 1997) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2794222 History: Received November 03, 1995; Revised October 23, 1996; Online November 06, 2007


Although pulse combustion has been successfully utilized in various commercial applications, one potential application yet to reach the market is the pressure gain gas turbine (PGGT). A PGGT would incorporate a pulse combustor rather than the typical steady-flow combustor to increase system efficiency and decrease pollutant emissions. The distinctive advantage of pulse combustion is its ability to achieve a stagnation “pressure gain” from inlet to exit. A primary concern with pressure gain combustion development, however, is the lack of understanding as to how a combustor should be designed to achieve a pressure gain. While significant progress has been made in understanding the fundamental controlling physics of pulse combustor operation, little research has been aimed at understanding and predicting whether a given system will produce pressure gain. The following paper proposes a simple framework which helps to explain how a pulse combustor achieves a stagnation pressure gain from inlet to exit. The premise behind the framework is that pressure gain can be achieved by closely approximating a constant volume combustion process, is closely approximated by matching the resonant and operating frequencies of the system. The framework is primarily based upon results from a one-dimensional method-of-characteristics model.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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