Combustor Systems and Diagnostics

Abteilung Brennersysteme und Diagnostik
HBK-S high-pressure combustion chamber test bench with laser measurement technology installed
Optical laser measurement techniques can be used to carry out various measurements in the flame that are not possible using other measurement techniques. For example, the concentrations of individual species or the flow field can be measured.

The conversion of stationary gas turbines and aircraft engines to operation with non-fossil fuels such as hydrogen or fuels from power-to-liquid processes is an important component of the energy transition and the subject of our current research.

To this end, we are pursuing a multi-track approach: we are developing optical, laser-based and conventional measurement methods on sprays, atmospheric burners and high-pressure combustion test benches and thereby generate validation data sets for combustion simulation under defined conditions. Subsequently, we use the understanding of combustion in gas turbine combustors and the complex sub-processes involved in this process in a second step to continuously improve combustion systems of stationary gas turbines and aircraft engines.

Further development of jet-stabilised combustion

In our projects, we are working on combustion systems of the next and next but one generation in the range of a few kW to MW, whose pollutant emissions are further minimised with high load and fuel flexibility. We transfer results from laboratory experiments to the high-pressure environment, and we address questions from industrial combustion in simplified experiments at atmospheric pressure in order to find solutions using optical diagnostics.

The focus of our research is the optimization of jet-stabilised combustion with recirculation, also known as FLOX® gas turbine burners. We are developing this concept for liquid and gaseous fuels in an application-oriented manner. Our combustor concept, which is based on the FLOX® gas turbine burner, has proven to be a promising approach, especially for the combustion of hydrogen

FLOX burner
Front view of a FLOX® gas turbine burner: The twelve openings arranged in a circle are the outlets for the fuel-air jets.

Customised measuring methods for industrial burners

The department operates a number of atmospheric and high-pressure combustion test stands with optically accessible combustors between few kW and beyond 1 MW power, in which we investigate details of technical combustion processes with modern optical and laser-based measurement methods. These techniques are non-intrusive, with high spatial and temporal resolution and can determine two-dimensional distributions when employing light sheets.

Therefore, an important focus is the optimization and adaptation of modern laser-based techniques for combustion as well as spray diagnostics. We also use customised diagnostics to support project partners and customers from industry by characterizing the combustion behaviour of industrial burners and thus optimizing the systems individually.

Gas film nozzle with laser
Laser measurement methods are used for a variety of experiments in combustion research.

We develop, optimized and adapt following optical and laser-based diagnostics with 10 Hz and - where possible - kHz repetition rate systems:

  • Raman scattering for the determination of main species and flame temperatures
  • Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) to measure flame temperatures
  • Laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) to visualise the distribution of combustion species, e.g. OH, PAH
  • Laser-induced incandescence (LII) for quantitative determination of soot distribution
  • Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) to determine flow fields under reacting and non-reacting conditions
  • Absorption spectroscopy for gaseous species and soot
  • Phosphor thermometry for measuring wall temperatures
  • Chemiluminescence imaging for flame visualisation
  • Mie scattering for spray characterisation
  • Shadowgraphy for spray characterisation


Dr. Klaus Peter Geigle

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Combustion Technology
Combustor Systems and Diagnostics
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart

Dr. Oliver Lammel

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Combustion Technology
Combustor Systems and Diagnostics
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart