Fuel Effects on Ion Current in an HCCI Engine 2005-01-2093
An interest in measuring ion current in Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines arises when one wants to use a cheaper probe for feedback of the combustion timing than expensive piezo electric pressure transducers. However the location of the ion current probe, in this case a spark plug, is of importance for both signal strength and the crank angle position where the signal is obtained. Different fuels will probably affect the ion current in both signal strength and timing and this is the main interest of this investigation. The measurements were performed on a Scania D12 engine in single cylinder operation and ion current was measured at 7 locations simultaneously. By arranging this setup there was a possibility to investigate if the ion current signals from the different spark plug locations would correlate with the fact that, for this particular engine, the combustion starts at the walls and propagates towards the centre of the combustion chamber. The fuels investigated were isooctane, n-heptane, PRF80, gasoline, diesel, ethanol and methanol. A special interest was how the ion current timing was affected by low temperature reactions, which were present with the n-heptane and diesel fuels as well as mixtures of isooctane and n-heptane, i.e. PRF80. The most interesting results were that ion current is both affected by the ion current probe location in the combustion chamber and the fuel used. Fuels with higher octane number seem to provoke ion current more easily, thus with LTR fuels as n-heptane and diesel ion current was only achieved at richer mixtures. The cycle to cycle variations of ion current increased with leaner mixtures. Ion current was also affected by combustion phasing and engine speed.