Subgrid model influence in Large Eddy Simulations of non-reacting flow in a gas turbine combustor

W. J.S. Ramaekers*, F. A. Tap, B. J. Boersma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Fuel efficiency improvement and harmful emission reduction are the paramount driving forces for development of gas turbine combustors. Lean-burn combustors can accomplish these goals, but require specific flow topologies to overcome their sensitivity to combustion instabilities. Large Eddy Simulations (LES) can accurately capture these complex and intrinsically unsteady flow fields, but estimating the appropriate numerical resolution and subgrid model(s) still remain challenges. This paper discusses the prediction of non-reacting flow fields in the DLR gas turbine model combustor using LES. Several important features of modern gas turbine combustors are present in this model combustor: multiple air swirlers and recirculation zones for flame stabilisation. Good overall agreement is obtained between LES outcomes and experimental results, both in terms of time-averaged and temporal RMS values. Findings of this study include a strong dependence of the opening angle of the swirling jet inside the combustion chamber on the subgrid viscosity, which acts mainly through the air mass flow split between the two swirlers in the DLR model combustor. This paper illustrates the ability of LES to obtain accurate flow field predictions in complex gas turbine combustors making use of open-source software and computational resources available to industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-479
JournalFlow, Turbulence and Combustion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Gas turbine combustor
  • Large eddy simulation
  • Turbulent swirling flow


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