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Journal Article

Pre-design Investigation of Resonant Frequency Effects on Gas Exchange Efficiencies of a One-kW Natural-Gas Linear Engine Alternator

2020-04-14
2020-01-0488
Performance of a natural gas two-stroke engine incorporated in a 1-kW free-piston oscillating Linear Engine Alternator (LEA) - a household electricity generator - was investigated under different resonant frequencies for pre-design phase purposes. To increase the robustness, power density, and thermal efficiencies, the crank mechanism in free-piston LEA is omitted and all moving parts of the generator operate at a fixed resonant frequency. Flexure springs are the main source of the LEA’s stiffness and the mass-spring dynamics dominates the engine’s speed. The trade-off between the engine’s performance, mass-spring system limits, and power and efficiency targets versus the LEA speed is very crucial and demands a careful investigation specifically at the concept design stages to find the optimum design parameters and operating conditions. CFD modeling was performed to analyze the effects of resonant frequency on the engine’s gas exchange behavior.
Technical Paper

Energy Release Characteristics inside a Spark-Ignition Engine with a Bowl-in-Piston Geometry

2020-01-16
2020-01-5003
The conversion of compression ignition (CI) internal combustion engines to spark-ignition (SI) operation by adding a spark plug to ignite the mixture and fumigating the fuel inside the intake manifold can increase the use of alternative gaseous fuels (e.g., natural gas) in heavy-duty applications. This study proposed a novel, less-complex methodology based on the inflection points in the apparent rate of heat release (ROHR) that can identify and separate the fast-burning stage inside the piston bowl from the slower combustion stage inside the squish region (a characteristic of premixed combustion inside a diesel geometry). A single-cylinder 2L CI research engine converted to natural gas SI operation provided the experimental data needed to evaluate the methodology, at several spark timings, equivalence ratios, and engine speeds.
Journal Article

Methodology to Determine the Fast Burn Period Inside a Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Converted to Natural Gas Lean-Burn Spark Ignition Operation

2019-12-19
2019-01-2220
The conversion of existing diesel engines to natural-gas operation can reduce the dependence on petroleum imports and curtail engine-out emissions. A convenient way to perform such conversion is by adding a gas injector in the intake manifold and replacing the diesel fuel injector with a spark plug to initiate and control the combustion process. However, challenges may appear with respect to engine’s efficiency and emissions as natural-gas spark-ignition combustion inside a diesel combustion chamber is different to that in conventional spark ignition engines. For example, major difference is the phasing and duration of the fast burn, defined as the period in which the rate of heat release increases linearly with crank angle. This study presents a methodology to investigate the fast burn inside a diesel geometry using heat release data.
Journal Article

Feasibility of Multiple Piston Motion Control Approaches in a Free Piston Engine Generator

2019-10-22
2019-01-2599
The control and design optimization of a Free Piston Engine Generator (FPEG) has been found to be difficult as each independent variable changes the piston dynamics with respect to time. These dynamics, in turn, alter the generator and engine response to other governing variables. As a result, the FPEG system requires an energy balance control algorithm such that the cumulative energy delivered by the engine is equal to the cumulative energy taken by the generator for stable operation. The main objective of this control algorithm is to match the power generated by the engine to the power demanded by the generator. In a conventional crankshaft engine, this energy balance control is similar to the use of a governor and a flywheel to control the rotational speed. In general, if the generator consumes more energy in a cycle than the engine provides, the system moves towards a stall.
Technical Paper

Experimental Investigation of Combustion Characteristics in a Heavy-Duty Compression-Ignition Engine Retrofitted to Natural-Gas Spark-Ignition Operation

2019-09-09
2019-24-0124
Recent development in hydraulic fracking made natural gas (NG) to be a promising alternative gaseous fuel for heavy-duty diesel engines. The existing compression ignition (CI) engine can be retrofitted to NG spark ignition (SI) operation by replacing the diesel injector with a spark plug and fumigating NG into the intake manifold. However, the original diesel piston geometry (flat head and bowl-in-piston chamber) was usually retained to reduce modification cost. The goal of this study was to increase the understanding of the NG lean-burn characteristics in a diesel-like, fast-burn SI combustion chamber. The experimental platform can operate in conventional (i.e., all engine parts are metal) or in optical configuration (i.e., the stock piston and cylinder block are replaced with a see-through piston and an extended cylinder block). The optical data indicated a fast-propagated flame inside the piston bowl.
Technical Paper

Quantification of Windage and Vibrational Losses in Flexure Springs of a One kW Two-Stroke Free Piston Linear Engine Alternator

2019-04-02
2019-01-0816
Methods to quantify the energy losses within linear motion devices that included flexural springs as the main suspension component were investigated. The methods were applied to a two-stroke free-piston linear engine alternator (LEA) as a case study that incorporated flexure springs to add stiffness to the mass-spring system. Use of flexure springs is an enabling mechanism for improving the efficiency and lifespan in linear applications e.g. linear engines and generators, cryocoolers, and linear Stirling engines. The energy loss due to vibrations and windage effects of flexure springs in a free piston LEA was investigated to quantify possible energy losses. A transient finite element solver was used to determine the effects of higher modes of vibration frequencies of the flexure arms at an operational frequency of 65 Hz. Also, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver was used to determine the effects of drag force on the moving surfaces of flexures at high frequencies.
Journal Article

Sensitivity Analysis and Control Methodology for Linear Engine Alternator

2019-04-02
2019-01-0230
Linear engine alternator (LEA) design optimization traditionally has been difficult because each independent variable alters the motion with respect to time, and therefore alters the engine and alternator response to other governing variables. An analogy is drawn to a conventional engine with a very light flywheel, where the rotational speed effectively is not constant. However, when springs are used in conjunction with an LEA, the motion becomes more consistent and more sinusoidal with increasing spring stiffness. This avoids some attractive features, such as variable compression ratio HCCI operation, but aids in reducing cycle-to-cycle variation for conventional combustion modes. To understand the cycle-to-cycle variations, we have developed a comprehensive model of an LEA with a 1kW target power in MATLAB®/Simulink, and an LEA corresponding to that model has been operated in the laboratory.
Technical Paper

Experimental Investigation of a Natural Gas Lean-Burn Spark Ignition Engine with Bowl-in-Piston Combustion Chamber

2019-04-02
2019-01-0559
On- and off-road heavy-duty diesel engines modified to spark-ignition natural gas operation can reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and enhance national energy security. Engine conversion can be achieved through the addition of a gas injector in the intake manifold and of a spark plug in place of the diesel injector. This paper investigated combustion characteristics and engine performance at several lean-burn operating conditions that changed spark timing, mixture equivalence ratio, and engine speed, using methane as NG surrogate.
Technical Paper

Gaseous Fuels Variation Effects on Combustion and Emissions of a Small Direct Injection Natural Gas Engine

2019-04-02
2019-01-0560
Our research focused on the assessment of fuel variation effects on performance of a 34 cc two-stroke, natural gas combustion engine designed for use as the prime mover in either slider-crank or novel linear generator applications. Nearly two-thirds of US homes have either natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas available at low pressures. We tested the engine with three different natural gas blends, pure methane, and pure propane. In order to reduce fuel compression power, we modified the engine to use low-pressure direct injection (LPDI) of gaseous fuels. We examined regulated gaseous emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and combustion trends over a range of delivered air fuel ratios. Start of Injection (SOI) occurred at either 180 or 190 CA BTDC and efficiency improved by reducing fuel slip. However, for natural gas blends, the predominant emissions were methane - a potent greenhouse gas.
Technical Paper

Heavy-Duty Aerodynamic Testing for CO2 Certification: A Methodology Comparison

2019-04-02
2019-01-0649
Aerodynamic drag testing is a key component of the CO2 certification schemes for heavy-duty vehicles around the world. This paper presents and compares the regulatory approaches for measuring the drag coefficient of heavy-duty vehicles in Europe, which uses a constant-speed test, and in the United States and Canada, which use a coastdown test. Two European trucks and one North American truck were tested using the constant-speed and coastdown methods. When corrected to zero yaw angle, a difference of up to 12% was observed in the measured drag coefficients from the US coastdown procedure and the EU constant-speed test.
Technical Paper

CFD Simulation of Metal and Optical Configuration of a Heavy-Duty CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas. Part 1: Combustion Behavior

2019-01-15
2019-01-0002
Internal combustion engines with optical access (a.k.a. optical engines) provide additional information in the quest for understanding the fundamental in-cylinder combustion phenomena. However, most optical engines have flat bowl-in-piston combustion chamber to optimize the visualization process, which is different, for example, from the traditional re-entrant bowl in compression ignition engines. A conventional heavy-duty direct-injection compression ignition engine was converted to spark ignition operation by replacing the fuel injector with a spark plug in both optical and metal setups to investigate the effect of the bowl geometry on flame propagation. Experimental data from steady-state lean-burn conditions was used to develop and validate a 3D CFD model of the engine. Numerical simulation results show that flame propagation in the radial direction was similar for both combustion chambers despite their different geometries.
Technical Paper

CFD Simulation of Metal and Optical Configuration of a Heavy-Duty CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas. Part 2: In-Cylinder Flow and Emissions

2019-01-15
2019-01-0003
Internal combustion diesel engines with optical access (a.k.a. optical engines) increase the fundamental understanding of combustion phenomena. However, optical access requirements result in most optical engines having a different in-cylinder geometry compared with the conventional diesel engine, such as a flat bowl-in-piston combustion chamber. This study investigated the effect of the bowl geometry on the flow motion and emissions inside a conventional heavy-duty direct-injection diesel engine that can operate in both metal and optical-access configurations. This engine was converted to natural-gas spark-ignition operation by replacing the fuel injector with a spark plug and adding a low-pressure gas injector in the intake manifold for fuel delivery, then operated at steady-state lean-burn conditions. A 3D CFD model based on the experimental data predicted that the different bowl geometry did not significantly affect in-cylinder emissions distribution.
Technical Paper

Choice of Tuning Parameters on 3D IC Engine Simulations Using G-Equation

2018-04-03
2018-01-0183
3D CFD spark-ignition IC engine simulations are extremely complex for the regular user. Truly-predictive CFD simulations for the turbulent flame combustion that solve fully coupled transport/chemistry equations may require large computational capabilities unavailable to regular CFD users. A solution is to use a simpler phenomenological model such as the G-equation that decouples transport/chemistry result. Such simulation can still provide acceptable and faster results at the expense of predictive capabilities. While the G-equation is well understood within the experienced modeling community, the goal of this paper is to document some of them for a novice or less experienced CFD user who may not be aware that phenomenological models of turbulent flame combustion usually require heavy tuning and calibration from the user to mimic experimental observations.
Technical Paper

Fuel Composition Effects in a CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas Operation

2018-04-03
2018-01-1137
Low-carbon fuels such as natural gas (NG) have the potential to lower the demand of petroleum-based fuels, reduce engine-out emissions, and increase IC engine thermal efficiency. One of the most rapid and efficient use of NG in the transportation sector would be as a direct replacement of the diesel fuel in compression ignition (CI) engines without any major engine modifications to the combustion chamber such as new pistons and/or engine head. An issue is the large variation in NG composition with the location and age of the gas well across U.S., which would affect engine operation, as well as the technology integration with emissions after treatment systems. This study used a conventional CI engine modified for spark ignition (SI) NG operation to investigate the effects of methane and a C1-C4 alkane blend on main combustion parameters like in-cylinder pressure, apparent heat release rate, IMEP, etc.
Technical Paper

Quantification of Energy Pathways and Gas Exchange of a Small Port Injection SI Two-Stroke Natural Gas Engine Operating on Different Exhaust Configurations

2018-04-03
2018-01-1278
This paper examines the energy pathways of a 29cc air-cooled two-stroke engine operating on natural gas with different exhaust geometries. The engine was operated at wide-open-throttle at a constant speed of 5400 RPM with ignition adjusted to yield maximum brake torque while the fueling was adjusted to examine both rich and lean combustion. The exhaust configurations examined included an off-the-shelf (OTS) model and two other custom models designed on Helmholtz resonance theory. The custom designs included both single and multi-cone features. Out of the three exhaust systems tested, the model with maximum trapping efficiency showed a higher overall efficiency due to lower fuel short-circuiting and heat transfer. The heat transfer rate was shown to be 10% lower on the new designs relative to OTS model.
Technical Paper

Continuously Varying Exhaust Outlet Diameter to Improve Efficiency and Emissions of a Small SI Natural Gas Two-Stroke Engine by Internal EGR

2018-04-03
2018-01-0985
With continuously increasing concern for the emissions from two-stroke engines including regulated hydrocarbon (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, non-road engines are implementing proven technologies from the on-road market. For example, four stroke diesel generators now include additional internal exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) via an intake/exhaust valve passage. EGR can offer benefits of reduced HC, NOx, and may even improve combustion stability and fuel efficiency. In addition, there is particular interest in use of natural gas as fuel for home power generation. This paper examines exhaust throttling applied to the Helmholtz resonator of a two-stroke, port injected, natural gas engine. The 34 cc engine was air cooled and operated at wide-open throttle (WOT) conditions at an engine speed of 5400 RPM with fueling adjusted to achieve maximum brake torque. Exhaust throttling served as a method to decrease the effective diameter of the outlet of the convergent cone.
Technical Paper

The Optimization of MOP Control Strategy for a Range-Extended Electric Vehicle Based on GA

2017-10-08
2017-01-2464
The range-extended electric vehicle (REEV) is a complex nonlinear system powered by internal combustion engine and electricity stored in battery. This research proposed a Multiple Operation Points (MOP) control strategy of REVV based on operation features of REEV and the universal characteristic curve of the engine. The switching logic rules of MOP strategy are designed for the desired transition of the operation mode, which makes the engine running at high efficiency region. A Genetic algorithm (GA) is adapted to search the optimal solution. The fuel consumption is defined as the target cost function. The demand power of engine is defined as optimal variable. The state of charge (SOC) and vehicle speed are selected as the state variables. The dynamic performance of vehicle and cycling life of battery is set as the constraints. The optimal switching parameters are obtained based on this control strategy. Finally, a dynamic simulation model of REEV is developed in Matlab/Simulink.
Technical Paper

Direct Numerical Simulation of Methane Turbulent Premixed Oxy-Fuel Combustion

2017-10-08
2017-01-2192
A 3-D DNS (Three-Dimensional Direct Numerical Simulation) study with detailed chemical kinetic mechanism of methane has been performed to investigate the characteristics of turbulent premixed oxy-fuel combustion in the condition relevant to Spark Ignition (SI) engines. First, 1-D (one-dimensional) laminar freely propagating premixed flame is examined to show a consistent combustion temperature for different dilution cases, such that 73% H2O and 66% CO2 dilution ratios are adopted in the following 3-D DNS cases. Four 3-D DNS cases with various turbulence intensities are conducted. It is found that dilution agents can reduce the overall flame temperature but with an enhancement of density weighted flame speed. CO2 dilution case shows the lowest flame speed both in turbulent and laminar cases.
Technical Paper

The Influence of High Reactivity Fuel Properties on Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition Combustion

2017-09-04
2017-24-0080
Reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) is a form of dual-fuel combustion that exploits the reactivity difference between two fuels to control combustion phasing. This combustion approach limits the formation of oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and soot while retaining high thermal efficiency. The research presented herein was performed to determine the influences that high reactivity (diesel) fuel properties have on RCCI combustion characteristics, exhaust emissions, fuel efficiency, and the operable load range. A 4-cylinder, 1.9 liter, light-duty compression-ignition (CI) engine was converted to run on diesel fuel (high reactivity fuel) and compressed natural gas (CNG) (low reactivity fuel). The engine was operated at 2100 revolutions per minute (RPM), and at two different loads, 3.6 bar brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) and 6 bar BMEP.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Kinetics Process in CFD Model and Its Application in Ignition Process Analysis of a Natural Gas-Diesel Dual Fuel Engine

2017-03-28
2017-01-0554
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model has been widely applied in internal combustion (IC) engine research. The integration of chemical kinetic model with CFD provides an opportunity for researchers to investigate the detailed chemical reactions for better understanding the combustion process of IC engines. However, the simulation using CFD has generally focused on the examination of primary parameters, such as temperature and species distributions. The detailed investigation on chemical reactions is limited. This paper presents the development of a post-processing tool capable of calculating the rate of production (ROP) of interested species with the known temperature, pressure, and concentration of each species in each cell simulated using CONVERGE-SAGE CFD model.
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