Investigation of Homogeneous Lean SI Combustion in High Load Operating Conditions 2020-01-0959
Homogeneous lean combustion (HLC) can be utilized to substantially improve spark ignited (SI) internal combustion engine efficiency. Higher efficiency is vital to enable clean, efficient and affordable propulsion for the next generation light duty vehicles. More research is needed to ensure robustness, fuel efficiency/NOx trade-off and utilization of HLC. Utilization can be improved by expanding the HLC operating window to higher engine torque domains which increases impact on real driving. The authors have earlier assessed boosted HLC operation in a downsized two-litre engine, but it was found that HLC operation could not be achieved above 15 bar NMEP due to instability and knocking combustion. The observation led to the conclusion that there exists a lean load limit. Therefore, further experiments have been conducted in a single cylinder research DISI engine to increase understanding of high load lean operation. HLC is known to suppress end-gas autoignition (knock) by decreasing reactivity and temperatures, but during the experiments knock was observed to be prominent and increasing in severity when engine load was increased despite operating ultra-lean close to lambda 2. Knock is normally mitigated by spark retardation which decreases peak cylinder pressure. However, to maintain stable combustion at lambda = 2 the combustion phasing had to be kept close to TC which resulted in high peak cylinder pressures. Therefore, the combustion event had to be balanced in a window where early combustion promoted knock and late resulted in instability and partial burns. A tumble flap was introduced to increase in-cylinder tumble which reduced knock and improved combustion stability. It could be observed that for most load-points assessed; increased tumble could suppress knock and increase the air-dilution limit which proved beneficial in decreasing the NOx emissions. The highest engine load that could be achieved with highly diluted combustion was 16 bar NMEP.