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Experimental Investigation of Noise and Thermo-acoustic Instabilities in Low-Emission, High-Efficiency Combustion Systems for Aviation


University of Alabama/NASA Glenn Research Center, Langley Research Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, Aeronautics Mission Directorate

This research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) at the University of Alabama is producing innovative concepts, supplemented with experimental data, to enable lean direct injection or LDI combustion for next generation aviation gas turbines to meet stringent emissions, noise, and efficiency goals established by NASA and regulation agencies. The LDI combustion is prone to thermo-acoustic instabilities or large-amplitude pressure oscillation that can severely damage the engine. The UA team has developed and patented a porous insert concept to address these problems, and specifically in this project, we are exploring methods to create highly functional porous inserts from aviation grade materials using 3D additive manufacturing techniques. We are working with the Combustion Branch at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) where LDI combustion research has been extensively investigated. NASA’s in-house experience is being utilized to define the hardware and operational challenges for the present study. The project is housed in UA’s Engine and Combustion Laboratory (ECL), which has resulted in several systematic changes: (1) the facility is toured by prospective students and parents (including those from underrepresented groups) and has contributed to the largest enrollment in ME in 2015 (above 1400 students), (2) we hosted a technical workshop on “Sustainable Fuels; Production and Combustion” to invite and showcase the research facility to potential collaborators from industry, academia and government (over 70). Presently, we are working to transition the UA technology to gas turbine and/or power industry. The project is supporting two doctoral and one master’s students, and a recent PhD graduate has joined the gas turbine industry. In response to these efforts, UA has created Alabama-Sustainable Energy Research Cluster (A-SERC), which will strategically hire several new faculty members to make sustainable energy as a premier research thrust on campus.

James Allen (PhD candidate), Science PI Prof. Ajay K Agrawal, and John Kornegay (PhD Candidate)

John Kornegay (PhD Candidate) and Daniel Depperschmidt (MS Candidate)

NASA Technical Monitor: Dr. Chi-Ming Lee

NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15



EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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