Bowl Geometry Effects on Turbulent Flow Structure in a Direct Injection Diesel Engine 2018-01-1794
Diesel piston bowl geometry can affect turbulent mixing and therefore it impacts heat-release rates, thermal efficiency, and soot emissions. The focus of this work is on the effects of bowl geometry and injection timing on turbulent flow structure. This computational study compares engine behavior with two pistons representing competing approaches to combustion chamber design: a conventional, re-entrant piston bowl and a stepped-lip piston bowl. Three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are performed for a part-load, conventional diesel combustion operating point with a pilot-main injection strategy under non-combusting conditions. Two injection timings are simulated based on experimental findings: an injection timing for which the stepped-lip piston enables significant efficiency and emissions benefits, and an injection timing with diminished benefits compared to the conventional, re-entrant piston.
While the flow structure in the conventional, re-entrant combustion chamber is dominated by a single toroidal vortex, the turbulent flow evolution in the stepped-lip combustion chamber depends more strongly on main injection timing. For the injection timing at which faster mixing controlled heat release and reduced soot emissions have been observed experimentally, the simulation predicts the formation of two additional recirculation zones created by interactions with the stepped-lip. Analysis of the CFD results reveals the mechanisms responsible for these recirculating flow structures. Vertical convection of outward radial momentum drives the formation of the recirculation zone in the squish region, while adverse pressure gradients drive flow inward near the cylinder head, thereby contributing to the formation of the second recirculation zone above the step. Bulk gas density is higher for the near-TDC injection timing than for the later injection timing. This leads to increased air entrainment into the sprays and slower spray velocities, so the sprays take longer to interact with the step, and beneficial recirculating flow structures are not obseved.