Combustor Department

Hydrogen burner in a three-sector combustion chamber on the high-pressure combustion chamber test bed1 at the Institute of Propulsion Technology

The combustor department explores the complex interactions in the combustion chamber of aero engines and gas turbines. The department develops and operates a range of test facilities to better understand the many interactions between flow, chemical reaction and heat transfer.

Reducing pollutant emissions while meeting all operational requirements is a challenging task and the main focus of research and development in gas turbine and aero engine combustors. In cooperation with industrial partners, the combustion chamber department pursues this goal by exploring the flow field and the chemical reaction in combustion test rigs under realistic conditions using optical methods. In addition, numerical simulation methods for reacting flows are developed and applied. The department's own research focusses on combustion chamber pre-design, component development and the critical phenomena in aero engine combustors, like fuel mixing or wall cooling.

Our versatile test facilities allow detailed observation of combustion processes under realistic operating conditions via optical access. In addition, numerical simulation methods for reacting flows are developed and used to complement experimental results in order to advance the development of sustainable and, in particular, low-emission combustion concepts. Scientific issues related to the decarbonisation of aviation, e.g. through direct combustion of hydrogen or sustainable liquid fuels, play a prominent role, especially in today's world. In close collaboration with other departments, numerous combustion chamber research topics are addressed and research and industry partners are supported in current development projects.

Our core areas of expertise

Hydrogen combustion in gas turbines and aircraft engines

Analysing combustion phenomena under realistic operating conditions

Spraying and vaporising the fuel

Numerical and experimental studies of innovative burner designs to drastically reduce emissions and reduce secondary and cooling air

Some projects we are working on



Dr.-Ing. Bertram Janus

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Propulsion Technology
51147 Köln