Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-01-2643

Effect of Fuel Volatility and Ignition Quality on Combustion and Soot Formation at Fixed Premixing Conditions 2009-01-2643

This paper presents experimental results for two fuel-related topics in a diesel engine: (1) how fuel volatility affects the premixed burn and heat release rate, and (2) how ignition quality influences the soot formation.
Fast evaporation of fuel may lead to more intense heat release if a higher percentage of the fuel is mixed with air to form a combustible mixture. However, if the evaporation of fuel is driven by mixing with high-temperature gases from the ambient, a high-volatility fuel will require less oxygen entrainment and mixing for complete vaporization and, consequently, may not have potential for significant heat release simply because it has vaporized. Fuel cetane number changes also cause uncertainty regarding soot formation because variable ignition delay will change levels of fuel-air mixing prior to combustion.
To address these questions, experiments are performed using a constant-volume combustion chamber simulating typical low-temperature-combustion (LTC) diesel conditions. We use fuels that have the same ignition delay (and therefore similar time for premixing with air), but different fuel volatility, to assess the heat-release rate and spatial location of combustion. Under this condition, where fuel volatility is decoupled from the ignition delay, results show almost the same heat release rate and spatial location of the premixed burn.
The effect of ignition quality on soot formation has also been studied while maintaining similar levels of fuel-ambient mixing prior to combustion. To achieve the same ignition delay, the high-cetane-number fuel is injected into an ambient gas at a lower temperature and vice versa. The total soot mass within the spray is measured and compared for fuels with different cetane numbers but with the same premixing level (e.g. the same ignition delay and lift-off length). Experimental results show that the combination of high cetane number and low ambient gas temperature produces lower soot than the other combination, because the ambient temperature predominantly affects soot formation.


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