Initial Study of Railplugs as an Aid for Cold Starting of Diesels 940108

The results of continuing investigations of a new type of ignitor, the railplug, 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 cold start of an IDI diesel engine, because the railplug plasma can force ignition in the combustion chamber rather than relying on autoignition under cold start conditions. In this paper, engine data are presented to demonstrate the improved cold starting capability obtainable with railplugs. Data acquired using a railplug are compared to results obtained using no assist and using glow plugs. The engine used for this investigation will not start without glow plugs (or some starting aid) at temperatures below O°C, and the manufacturer's specification of the cold start limit for this engine using glow plugs is -24°C. Railplugs are able to initiate combustion at -29°C in one to two seconds with no preheating. The experimental facility did not allow exploration of starting at colder temperatures. The results show that railplugs can extend the cold start temperature for IDI diesels to colder temperatures. It is believed that these results also indicate the potential of railplugs as a cold start aid for DI diesels.


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