Infrared Borescopic Evaluation of High-Energy and Long-Duration Ignition Systems for Lean/Dilute Combustion in Heavy-Duty Natural-Gas Engines
Natural gas (NG) is attractive for heavy-duty (HD) engines for reasons of cost stability, emissions, and fuel security. NG cannot be reliably compression-ignited, but conventional gasoline ignition systems are not optimized for NG and are challenged to ignite mixtures that are lean or diluted with exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR). NG ignition is particularly challenging in large-bore engines, where completing combustion in the available time is more difficult. Using two high-speed infrared (IR) cameras with borescopic access to one cylinder of an HD NG engine, the effect of ignition system on the early flame-kernel development and cycle-to-cycle variability (CCV) was investigated. Imaging in the IR yielded strong signals from water emission lines, which located the flame front and burned-gas regions and obviated image intensifiers. A 9.7-liter, six-cylinder engine was modified to enable exhaust-gas recirculation and to provide optical access.