Discharge Current Management for Diluted Combustion under Forced Flow Conditions 2020-01-1118
Lean burn or EGR diluted combustion with enhanced charge motion is effective in improving the efficiency of spark ignition engines. However, the ignition process under these conditions is getting more challenging due to higher ignition energy required by the lean or diluted mixture, as well as the interactions of the gas flow on the flame kernel. Enhanced spark discharge energy is essential to initiate the combustion under these conditions. Moreover, the discharge process should be more carefully controlled to improve the effectiveness of the spark. In this study, spark ignition systems with boosted discharge energy are used to ignite diluted air-fuel mixture under forced flow conditions. The impacts of the discharge current level, the discharge duration and the discharge current profile on the ignition are investigated in detail using optical diagnosis. It is evident from the results that extended discharge duration helps promote the flame propagation, though the effectiveness is limited when the duration exceeds the required minimum value for a self-sustained flame kernel. A higher discharge current level is favorable for generating a stronger flame kernel. With similar discharge energy delivered to the spark gap, a high-current spark with a shorter duration performs better than a longer duration low-current spark. Then the impacts of discharge current profiles are studied. Three spark discharge strategies, including a low-current continuous discharge, a high-current multi-pulse discharge, and a very high transient current discharge, are used in the comparison. The results reveal that sufficiently long discharge duration is critical for success ignition under the tested flow condition. Among the three ignition strategies, the low-current continuous spark discharge performs the best, even with the lowest discharge energy, due mainly to the continuous nature of the spark discharge.