To imitate resonances that might occur in the fuel delivery system of gas turbine combustors, the incoming liquid streams of two pressure swirl nozzles were perturbed using a piezoelectric driver. Frequencies of perturbations examined were from 3 to 20 kHz, and water was used as the test fluid. A video camera and a Phase Doppler Particle Analyzer (PDPA) were used to study the effect of perturbations on the mean flow quantities of the sprays. Various lighting arrangements were used for the video photography: back lighting, front lighting, a strobe synchronized with the input to the piezoelectric, and a laser sheet oriented along the midplane of the sprays.

The study showed that the piezoelectric drive had an effect an the spray system at discrete frequencies. At these particular frequencies, by increasing the input voltage, it was found that the piezoelectric drive affected the atomization in the following ways: (1) the mean flow rate decreased, (2) the spray cone angle decreased, (3) the break up length decreased, (4) the peak of the spatial distribution of the mean droplet size decreased, and (5) the mean droplet sizes and velocities increased near the spray center line and decreased in the outer region of the spray. A hysteresis effect of the drive frequency on the spray cone angle was observed. The results indicated that more fundamental research is needed to gain an in-depth understanding of the physical processes induced in the spray by the piezoelectric drive.

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