1998-02-23

In-Cylinder Air/Fuel Ratio Approximation Using Spark Gap Ionization Sensing 980166

Experiments were conducted on a single cylinder engine to measure the ionization current across the spark plug electrodes as a function of key operating parameters including air/fuel ratio. A unique ignition circuit was adapted to measure the ion current as early as 300 microseconds after the initiation of spark discharge.A strong relationship between air/fuel ratio and features of the measured ion current was observed. This relationship can be exploited via relatively simple algorithms in a wide range of electronic engine control strategies. Measurements of spark plug ion current for approximating air/fuel ratio may be especially useful for use with low cost mixture control in small engine applications. Cylinder-to-cylinder mixture balancing in conjunction with a global exhaust gas oxygen sensor is another promising application of spark plug ion current measurement.

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