Is the “K Value” of an Engine Truly Fuel Independent?
The octane appetite of an engine is frequently characterised by the so-called K value. It is usually assumed that K is dependent only on the thermodynamic conditions in the engine when knock occurs. In this work we test this hypothesis: further analysis was conducted on experimental results from SAE 2019-01-0035 in which a matrix of fuels was tested in a single cylinder engine. The fuels consisted of a relatively small number of components, thereby simplifying the analysis of the chemical kinetic proprieties. Through dividing the original fuel matrix into subsets, it was possible to explore the variation of K value with fuel properties. It was found that K value tends to increase slightly with RON. The explanation for this finding is that higher RON leads to advanced ignition timing (i.e. closer to MBT conditions) and advanced ignition timing results in faster combustion because of the higher pressures and temperatures reached in the thermodynamic trajectory.