In this experimental study, the combined effect of spatial and temporal variations of fuel-air mixture on self-excited combustion instabilities in a gas-turbine model combustor (∼60 kW) with a low-swirl injector is reported. Detailed measurements were performed in 4 fuel split (to upstream/downstream injections) conditions while keeping the total equivalence ratio constant. The combustion stability was found to be very sensitive to the fuel split parameter which determined the local equivalence ratio distribution. The majority of the heat-release oscillations was generated in the flame-to-wall impingement region in a manner that satisfied the Rayleigh criterion. The driving force of the instability was considered the periodic interaction between the traveling vortex filled with fresh mixtures and the flame in the near-wall region as reported in the previous study on homogeneous mixture flame. However, the strength of the instability was sensitively modified by the change in the local equivalence ratio distribution. In the strongest oscillation case with inhomogeneous mixture, temporal variations of equivalence ratio exhibited a positive contribution to the thermoacoustic coupling. This suggested that temporal variations in equivalence ratio were enhancing the driving factor of the thermoacoustic instability in addition to the vortex-flame interaction mechanism.
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