1993-08-01

Effects of Railplugs on the Dilution Tolerance of a Spark Ignition Engine 931800

The results of continuing investigations of a new type of ignitor, the railplugs are reported. Previous studies have shown that railplugs can produce a high velocity jet of plasma. Additionally, railplugs have the potential of assuring ignition under adverse conditions, such as for very dilute mixtures, because the railplug plasma is both hotter and has a larger mass than the plasma generated by a spark plug. In this paper, engine data are presented to demonstrate the improved dilution tolerance obtainable with railplugs. Data acquired using a railplug are compared to results obtained using a conventional spark plug and a spark plug with a wide spark gap, both using an inductive ignition system. The present results affirm earlier, preliminary findings that railplugs can extend the dilution limit and produce faster combustion. No conditions were found under which railplugs exhibited partial burn or misfire cycles whereas both spark plugs encountered these phenomena as they approached their Lean Stability Limits. The frequency of slow burn cycles is also reduced by railplugs. It is believed that even better results can be obtained using improved railplug designs.

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