1981-02-01

Enhanced Ignition for I. C. Engines with Premixed Gases 810146

The development of lean charge, fast burn engines depends crucially on enhanced ignition, since one can obtain thereby proper means for increasing the rate of burn in mixtures characterized notoriously by low normal burning speeds. Enhanced ignition involves not only high energies and long duration of ignition, but also a wide dispersion of its sources, so that combustion is carried out at as many sites throughout the charge as possible. Upon this premise, various ignition systems for I.C. engines, operating with premixed charge, are reviewed.
The systems are grouped within the following categories: (1) high energy spark plugs; (2) plasma jet igniters; (3) photochemical, laser, and microwave ignition concepts; (4) torch cells; (5) divided chamber stratified charge engines; (6) flame jet igniters; (7) combustion jet ignition concepts; (8) EGR ignition system. The first three derive the power from electrical energy, the rest are powered by exothermic chemical reactions at a significantly lower, practically negligible, fuel consumption.
The review emphasizes the concept of staging the processes of initiation and propagation of combustion. Relative positions of various ignition systems is expressed on the plane of relative energies (the ratio of energy consumed by the ignition system, or contained in a pre-chamber, to that of the compressed charge in the main chamber) and relative volumes (the ratio of the volume of the pre-chamber to that of the compressed charge).
In principle, ignition systems for engines operating with premixed charge lie on the half-plane of relative energies below one, between 10-5 for standard spark plugs to 10-1 for divided chamber stratified charge engines, while their relative volumes extend from 0 for spark igniters to 0.2 for stratified charge engines. This suggests that proper compartmentization of the combustion process may lead to significant improvements in both pollution emissions from the cylinder and specific fuel consumption of I.C. engines.

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