Assessment of the Ignition System Requirement on Diluted Mixture Spark Engines 2020-01-1116
In order to face the new challenges, spark ignition engines are evolving by following some strategies and technologies. Among them, alternative combustion processes based on the dilution of the homogeneous mixture, either with fresh air or with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), are being explored. In a higher or lower extent, these changes modify in-cylinder thermodynamic conditions during the engine operation (pressure, temperature and gas composition) thus conditioning the spark ignition system requirements that will have to evolve to become more reliable and powerful.
In this framework, an experimental study on the effect of the key in-cylinder conditions on the ignition system performance has been carried out in a single-cylinder spark-ignition (SI) research engine. The study includes EGR, lambda and energizing time sweeps to assess the behavior of the engine in different operating conditions. Furthermore, various Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) and spark plugs have been tested to assess the influence of these components on the ignition process at high diluted mixtures. Conclusions show that diluted mixtures (with EGR or lambda), even though they require more spark energy to achieve a stable combustion, have up to 4% benefit on indicated efficiency, providing that the combustion propagates adequately. However, at high diluted conditions the combustion is compromised, so two different approaches were explored to improve it. Whilst it was checked that increasing the clamping value of the IGBT does not necessarily imply a better combustion in all scenarios, the increment of the electrodes gap of the spark plug would require higher clamping voltage at the IGBT, and it would have a slight benefit on efficiency providing that the rest of components, in particular the coil, are adequate.