Assessing the causes of combustion-driven oscillations in boilers using a feedback-loop stability model

L. Zhou, D. W. Herrin, T. Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Combustion-driven oscillations are a common problem with boilers, water heaters, and furnaces. Sound is produced by the flame and is reflected downstream from the combustion chamber. The reflected sound waves disturb the mixture flow or equivalence ratio, increasing the heat-release pulsations and the accompanying sound produced by the flame. This phenomenon has been described using a positive feedback-loop in prior work. The current paper applies the feedback-loop stability model to two boilers, which exhibited combustion oscillations. Additionally, a feedback loop model was developed for equivalence ratio fluctuations and validated. For the first boiler, the combustion oscillation problem was likely related to the geometry of the burner and the intake system, though results are inconclusive. For the second boiler, the model indicated that the combustion oscillations were due to equivalence ratio fluctuations. Accordingly, the combustion oscillations could be alleviated by changing the geometry of the intake system.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASHRAE Transactions - ASHRAE Annual Conference
Number of pages11
EditionPART 2
StatePublished - 2013
Event2013 ASHRAE Annual Conference - Denver, CO, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2013Jun 26 2013

Publication series

NameASHRAE Transactions
NumberPART 2
ISSN (Print)0001-2505


Conference2013 ASHRAE Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDenver, CO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering


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