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Technical Paper

Impact of plasma length on flame kernel development under flow condition

2020-04-14
2020-01-1114
Advanced ignition systems with enhanced discharge current level have been extensively investigated in research, since they are highly regarded to have potentials to overcome challenges arisen when spark-ignition engines are running under lean or EGR diluted conditions. Local flow field is also of particularly importance to improve the ignitability of the ignition system as spark plasma channel is stretched under flow conditions, leading to more thermal spark energy distribution to the air-fuel mixture in the vicinity of the spark plug. Research results have shown that a constantly high discharge current is considered to be effective to maintain stable discharge with less restrikes and longer plasma holding period. However, with the further increase of the discharge current, plasma channel becomes thicker, and the stretched plasma length becomes shorter under certain flow speed, which may suppress the advantages of the presence of air flow.
Technical Paper

Energy enhanced adaptive spark ignition for lean combustion initiation

2020-04-14
2020-01-0841
For internal combustion engine systems, lean and diluted combustion is an important technology applied for fuel efficiency improvement. Because of the thermodynamic boundary conditions and the presence of in-cylinder flow, the development of well-sustained flame kernel for lean combustion is a challenging task. Reliable spark discharge with the addition of enhanced delivered energy is thus needed at certain time durations to achieve successful combustion initiation of the lean air-fuel mixture. For a conventional transistor coil ignition system, only limited amount of energy is stored in the ignition coil. Therefore, both the energy of the spark discharge and the duration of the spark discharge are bounded. To break through the energy limit of the conventional transistor coil ignition system, in this work, an energy enhanced adaptive spark ignition system is introduced. The system has the ability to reconstruct the conductive ion channels within sub-milliseconds scale.
Technical Paper

A Framework for the Active Control of Corona Ignition Systems

2019-12-19
2019-01-2157
Corona ignition is a promising technology that has been demonstrated to be capable of improving the reliability of lean combustion. However, arcing is unavoidable during corona discharge. The high current surge during arcing can cause excessive damage to the corona ignition system. In this work, a control framework is proposed to help reduce and prevent arcing from happening in a corona ignition system. Experimental results are demonstrated to show the effectiveness of the proposed methodology.
Technical Paper

Preliminary Testing of n-Butanol HCCI on High Compression Ratio Diesel Engines

2019-04-02
2019-01-0577
The control of combustion phasing in homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) combustion is investigated with neat n-butanol in this work. HCCI is a commonly researched combustion mode, owing to its improved thermal efficiency over conventional gasoline combustion, as well as its lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions compared to those of diesel combustion. Despite these advantages, HCCI lacks successful widespread implementation with conventional fuels, primarily due to the lack of effective combustion phasing control. In this preliminary study, chemical kinetic simulations are conducted to study the auto-ignition characteristics of n-butanol under varied background pressures, temperatures, and dilution levels using established mechanisms in CHEMKIN software. Increasing the pressure or temperature lead to a shorter ignition delay, whereas increasing the dilution by the application of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) leads to a longer ignition delay.
Technical Paper

Effects of Spark Discharge Energy Scheduling on Flame Kernel Formation under Quiescent and Flow Conditions

2019-04-02
2019-01-0727
The breakdown phase is considered to have the highest electric-thermal energy transfer efficiency among all the discharge modes in a conventional spark ignition process. In this study, an external capacitor is connected in parallel with the spark plug in order to enhance the discharge energy and power during the breakdown phase. A constant volume combustion chamber is used to investigate the high power spark discharge under different background pressures and with varied flow velocities. Results show that the added parallel capacitance is effective in redistributing the spark energy. With the increase in parallel capacitance, the breakdown power and energy increase, though at the cost of reduced glow phase energy. The breakdown energy also increases with the increased background pressure. Then combustion tests are carried out to study the effects of the breakdown power enhanced spark on flame propagation under both quiescent and flow conditions via optical diagnosis.
Technical Paper

Early Pilot Injection Strategies for Reactivity Control in Diesel-ethanol Dual Fuel Combustion

2018-04-03
2018-01-0265
This paper examines the diesel-ethanol dual fuel combustion at medium engine loads on a single-cylinder research diesel engine with a compression ratio of 16.5:1. The effect of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and ethanol energy ratio was investigated for the dual fuel combustion to achieve simultaneously ultra-low NOx and soot emissions. A medium ethanol ratio of about 0.6 was found suitable to meet the requirements for mixing enhancement and ignition control, which resulted in the lowest NOx and soot emissions among the tested ethanol ratios. A double-pilot injection strategy was found competent to lower the pressure rise rate owing to the reduced fuel quantity in the close-to-TDC injection. The advancement of pilot injection timing tended to reduce the CO and THC emissions, which is deemed beneficial for high EGR operations. The reactivity mutual-modulation between the diesel pilot and the background ethanol mixture was identified.
Technical Paper

A Fuel Sensitive Ignition Delay Model for Direct Injection Diesel Engine Operating under EGR Diluted Conditions

2018-04-03
2018-01-0231
This empirical work investigates the impacts of thermodynamic parameters, such as pressure and temperature, and fuel properties, such as fuel Cetane number and aromatic contents on ignition delay in diesel engines. Systematic tests are conducted on a single-cylinder research engine to evaluate the ignition delay changes due to the fuel property differences at low, medium and high engine loads under different EGR dilution ratios. The test fuels offer a range of Cetane numbers from 28 to 54.2 and aromatic contents volume ratios from 19.4% to 46.6%. The experimental results of ignition delays are used to derive an ignition delay model modified from Arrhenius’ expression. Following the same format of Arrhenius’ equation, the model incorporates the pressure and temperature effects, and further includes the impacts of intake oxygen concentration, fuel Cetane number and aromatic contents volume ratio on the ignition delay.
Technical Paper

Ignition Improvement for Ultra-Lean Dilute Gasoline Combustion

2017-10-08
2017-01-2244
In this work, a spatially distributed spark ignition strategy was employed to improve the ignition process of well-mixed ultra-lean dilute gasoline combustion in a high compression ratio (13.1:1) single cylinder engine at partial loads. The ignition energy was distributed in the perimeter of a 3-pole igniter. It was identified that on the basis of similar total spark energy, the 3-pole ignition mode can significantly shorten the early flame kernel development period and reduce the cyclic variation of combustion phasing, for the spark timing sweep tests at λ 1.5. The effect of ignition energy level on lean-burn operation was investigated at λ 1.6. Within a relatively low ignition energy range, i.e. below 46 mJ per pole, the increase in ignition energy via ether 1 pole or 3 pole can improve the controllability over combustion phasing and reduce the variability of lean burn combustion. Higher ignition energy was required in order to enable ultra-lean engine operation with λ above 1.6.
Technical Paper

Mode Switching to Improve Low Load Efficiency of an Ethanol-Diesel Dual-Fuel Engine

2017-03-28
2017-01-0771
The dual-fuel application using ethanol and diesel fuels can substantially improve the classical trade-off between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and smoke, especially at moderate-to-high load conditions. However, at low engine load levels, the use of a low reactivity fuel in the dual-fuel application usually leads to increased incomplete combustion products that in turn result in a significant reduction of the engine thermal efficiency. In this work, engine tests are conducted on a high compression ratio, single cylinder dual-fuel engine that incorporates the diesel direct-injection and ethanol port-injection. Engine load levels are identified, at which, diesel combustion offers better efficiency than the dual-fuel combustion while attaining low NOx and smoke emissions. Thereafter, a cycle-to-cycle based closed-loop controller is implemented for the combustion phasing and engine load control in both the diesel and dual-fuel combustion regimes.
Technical Paper

Study of Heat Release Shaping via Dual-Chamber Piston Bowl Design to Improve Ethanol-Diesel Combustion Performance

2017-03-28
2017-01-0762
In this work, an innovative piston bowl design that physically divides the combustion chamber into a central zone and a peripheral zone is employed to assist the control of the ethanol-diesel combustion process via heat release shaping. The spatial combustion zone partition divides the premixed ethanol-air mixture into two portions, and the combustion event (timing and extent) of each portion can be controlled by the temporal diesel injection scheduling. As a result, the heat release profile of ethanol-diesel dual-fuel combustion is properly shaped to avoid excessive pressure rise rates and thus to improve the engine performance. The investigation is carried out through theoretical simulation study and empirical engine tests. Parametric simulation is first performed to evaluate the effects of heat release shaping on combustion noise and engine efficiency and to provide boundary conditions for subsequent engine tests.
Technical Paper

Improvement on Energy Efficiency of the Spark Ignition System

2017-03-28
2017-01-0678
Future clean combustion engines tend to increase the cylinder charge to achieve better fuel economy and lower exhaust emissions. The increase of the cylinder charge is often associated with either excessive air admission or exhaust gas recirculation, which leads to unfavorable ignition conditions at the ignition point. Advanced ignition methods and systems have progressed rapidly in recent years in order to suffice the current and future engine development, and a simple increase of energy of the inductive ignition system does not often provide the desired results from a cost-benefit point of view. Proper design of the ignition system circuit is required to achieve certain spark performances.
Technical Paper

High Energy Ignition Strategies for Diluted Mixtures via a Three-Pole Igniter

2016-10-17
2016-01-2175
A three-pole spark igniter, with the concept to broaden the ignition area, is employed in this paper to investigate the effect of spark discharge strategies on the early ignition burning process. The prototyped three-pole igniter has three independent spark gaps arranged in a triangular pattern with a circumradius of 2.3 mm. Direct-capacitor discharge techniques, utilizing close-coupled capacitors parallel to the spark gap, are applied on the three-pole igniter to enhance either the transient spark power or the overall energy. In particular, the simultaneous discharge of high energy plasma on three spark gaps can produce a surface-like ignition process which intensifies the plasma-flame interaction, thereby producing a rapid flame kernel development. The ignition strategies are evaluated in both constant volume combustion vessels and a modified single-cylinder metal engine.
Technical Paper

Fuel Burn Rate Control to Improve Load Capability of Neat n-Butanol Combustion in a Modern Diesel Engine

2016-10-17
2016-01-2301
This research work investigates the control strategies of fuel burn rate of neat n-butanol combustion to improve the engine load capability. Engine tests of homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) and partially premixed combustion (PPC) with neat n-butanol show promising NOx and smoke emissions; however, the rapid burn rate of n-butanol results in excessive pressure rise rates and limits the engine load capability. A multi-event combustion strategy is developed to modulate the fuel burn rate of the combustion cycle and thus to reduce the otherwise high pressure rise rates at higher engine load levels. In the multi-event combustion strategy, the first combustion event is produced near TDC by the compression ignition of the port injected butanol that resembles the HCCI combustion; the second combustion event occurs near 7~12 degrees after TDC, which is produced by butanol direct injection (DI) after the first HCCI-like combustion event.
Technical Paper

Ignition Improvement of Premixed Methane-Air Mixtures by Distributed Spark Discharge

2015-09-01
2015-01-1889
In order to improve the fuel economy for future high-efficiency spark ignition engines, the use of advanced combustion strategies with an overall lean and/or exhaust gas recirculation diluted cylinder charge is deemed to be beneficial, provided a reliable ignition process available. In this paper, experimental results of igniting methane-air mixture by means of capacitive coupled ignition and multi-coil distributed spark ignition are presented. It is found that with a conventional spark plug electrode configuration, increase of spark energy does not proportionally enhance the ignition flame kernel development. The use of capacitive coupled ignition to enhance the initial transient power resulted in faster kernel growth compared to the conventional system. The distribution of the spark energy across a number of spark gaps shows considerable benefit.
Technical Paper

Suitability Study of n-Butanol for Enabling PCCI and HCCI and RCCI Combustion on a High Compression-ratio Diesel Engine

2015-09-01
2015-01-1816
This work investigates the suitability of n-butanol for enabling PCCI, HCCI, and RCCI combustion modes to achieve clean and efficient combustion on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) diesel engine. Systematic engine tests are conducted at low and medium engine loads (6∼8 bar IMEP) and at a medium engine speed of 1500 rpm. Test results indicate that n-butanol is more suitable than diesel to enable PCCI and HCCI combustion with the same engine hardware. However, the combustion phasing control for n-butanol is demanding due to the high combustion sensitivity to variations in engine operating conditions where engine safety concerns (e.g. excessive pressure rise rates) potentially arise. While EGR is the primary measure to control the combustion phasing of n-butanol HCCI, the timing control of n-butanol direct injection in PCCI provides an additional leverage to properly phase the n-butanol combustion.
Journal Article

Impact of Fuelling Techniques on Neat n-Butanol Combustion and Emissions in a Compression Ignition Engine

2015-04-14
2015-01-0808
This study investigated neat n-butanol combustion, emissions and thermal efficiency characteristics in a compression ignition (CI) engine by using two fuelling techniques - port fuel injection (PFI) and direct injection (DI). Diesel fuel was used in this research for reference. The engine tests were conducted on a single-cylinder four-stroke DI diesel engine with a compression ratio of 18.2 : 1. An n-Butanol PFI system was installed to study the combustion characteristics of Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI). A common-rail fuel injection system was used to conduct the DI tests with n-butanol and diesel. 90 MPa injection pressure was used for the DI tests. The engine was run at 1500 rpm. The intake boost pressure, engine load, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) ratio, and DI timing were independently controlled to investigate the engine performance.
Journal Article

Active Injection Control for Enabling Clean Combustion in Ethanol-Diesel Dual-Fuel Mode

2015-04-14
2015-01-0858
In this work, an active injection control strategy is developed for enabling clean and efficient combustion on an ethanol-diesel dual-fuel engine. The essence of this active injection control is the minimization of the diffusion burning and resultant emissions associated with the diesel injection while maintaining controllability over the ignition and combustion processes. A stand-alone injection bench is employed to characterize the rate of injection for the diesel injection events, and a regression model is established to describe the injection timings and injector delays. A new combustion control parameter is proposed to characterize the extent of diffusion burning on a cycle-to-cycle basis by comparing the modelled rate of diesel injection with the rate of heat release in real time. The test results show that the proposed parameter, compared with the traditional ignition delay, better correlates to the enabling of low NOx and low smoke combustion.
Technical Paper

Spark Ignition Circuit Energy Characterization based on a Simplified Model and Measurement Analysis

2015-04-14
2015-01-1271
The spark ignition circuit inside an internal combustion engine system is the source which provides the initiation energy required for triggering combustion in a spark ignition (SI) engine in-cylinder air/fuel mixture. Proper spark phasing and adequate spark energy release in spark ignited combustion would yield significant combustion efficiency improvement and affect the in-cylinder production species composition. In this work a simplified spark ignition circuit model constructed based on circuit theorems is proposed. Measurements on how ignition pressure, secondary circuit series resistance and dwell duration would affect the ignition energy migration are presented. Simulations using the proposed model have also demonstrated similar energy migration trends to measurement results which show the influences caused by different secondary series resistance and dwell durations.
Technical Paper

Study of Low Temperature Combustion with Neat n-Butanol on a Common-rail Diesel Engine

2015-03-10
2015-01-0003
This study investigates neat n-butanol, as a cleaner power source, to directly replace conventional diesel fuels for enabling low temperature combustion on a modern common-rail diesel engine. Engine tests are performed at medium engine loads (6∼8 bar IMEP) with the single-shot injection strategy for both n-butanol and diesel fuels. As indicated by the experimental results, the combustion of neat n-butanol offers comparable engine efficiency to that of diesel while producing substantially lower NOx emissions even without the use of exhaust gas recirculation. The greater resistance to auto-ignition allows n-butanol to undergo a prolonged ignition delay for air-fuel mixing; the high volatility helps to enhance the cylinder charge homogeneity; the fuel-borne oxygen contributes to smoke reduction and, as a result, the smoke emissions of n-butanol combustion are generally at a near-zero level under the tested engine operating conditions.
Technical Paper

An Enabling Study of Neat n-Butanol HCCI Combustion on a High Compression-ratio Diesel Engine

2015-03-10
2015-01-0001
This work investigates the benefits and challenges of enabling neat n-butanol HCCI combustion on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) diesel engine. Minor engine modifications are made to implement n-butanol port injection while other engine components are kept intact. The impacts of the fuel change, from diesel to n-butanol, are examined through steady-state engine tests with independent control of the intake boost and exhaust gas recirculation. As demonstrated by the test results, the HCCI combustion of a thoroughly premixed n-butanol/air lean mixture offers near-zero smoke and ultralow NOx emissions even without the use of exhaust gas recirculation and produces comparable engine efficiencies to those of conventional diesel high temperature combustion. The test results also manifest the control challenges of running a neat alcohol fuel in the HCCI combustion mode.
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