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Technical Paper

The Coaxial Cavity Resonator as a RF IC Engine Ignition Source

The Quarter Wave Coaxial Cavity Resonator (QWCCR) plasma igniter is designed, from previous theoretical work, as an ignition source for an internal combustion engine. The present research has explored the implementation of the QWCCR into an internal combustion (IC) engine. The QWCCR design parameters of inner conductor length, loop geometry, and loop position were varied for two igniters of differing operating frequency. Variations of the QWCCR radio frequency (RF) parameters, as a function of engine geometry, were studied by placing the igniter in a combustion chamber and manually varying the crank position. Three identical igniters were fitted with dielectric inserts and the parameters were studied before and after ignition was sustained in a twin-cylinder engine. Optimal resonator geometries were determined. Radio frequency parameter invariance was found with respect to crank angle and piston distance. The first successful IC engine ignition using a QWCCR was achieved.
Technical Paper

Knock Prediction in Reciprocating Gas-Engines Using Detailed Chemical Kinetics

Two and three-dimensional test cases were simulated using a detailed kinetic mechanism for di-methyl ether to represent methane combustion. A piston-bowl assembly for the compression and expansion strokes with combustion has been simulated at 1500 RPM. A fine grid was used for the 2-D simulations and a rather coarse grid was used for the 3-D calculations together with a k-ε subgrid-scale turbulence model and a partially stirred reactor model with three time scales. Ignition was simulated artificially by increasing the temperature at one point inside the cylinder. The results of these simulations were compared with experimental results. The simulation involved an engine with a homogeneous charge of methane as fuel. Results indicate that pressure fluctuations were captured some time after the ignition started, which indicates knock conditions.
Technical Paper

Modularity in Spark Ignition Engines: A Review of its Benefits, Implementation and Limitations

A conceptual understanding of modularity in internal combustion engines (defined as design, operation, and sensing on an individual cylinder basis) is presented. Three fundamental modular concepts are identified. These are dissimilar component sizing and operation, component deactivation, and direct sensing. The implementation of these concepts in spark ignition internal combustion engines is presented. Several modular approaches are reviewed with respect to breathing, fueling, power generation, and sensing. These include dissimilar orientation, geometry, and activation of multiple induction runners, partial or total disablement of valves through direct or indirect means, dissimilar fueling of individual cylinders, skipping the combustion event of one or more cylinders, deactivation of dissimilar individual cylinders or a group of cylinders, and individual cylinder gas pressure and mixture strength sensing.
Technical Paper

A Parametric Study of Knock Control Strategies for a Bi-Fuel Engine

Until a proper fueling infrastructure is established, vehicles powered by natural gas must have bi-fuel capability in order to avoid a limited vehicle range. Although bi-fuel conversions of existing gasoline engines have existed for a number of years, these engines do not fully exploit the combustion and knock properties of both fuels. Much of the power loss resulting from operation of an existing gasoline engine on compressed natural gas (CNG) can be recovered by increasing the compression ratio, thereby exploiting the high knock resistance of natural gas. However, gasoline operation at elevated compression ratios results in severe engine knock. The use of variable intake valve timing in conjunction with ignition timing modulation and electronically controlled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) was investigated as a means of controlling knock when operating a bi-fuel engine on gasoline at elevated compression ratios.
Technical Paper

Potential Applications of the Stiller-Smith Mechanism in internal Combustion Engine Designs

With few exceptions most internal combustion engines use a slider-crank mechanism to convert reciprocating piston motion into a usable rotational output. One such exception is the Stiller-Smith Mechanism which utilizes a kinematic inversion of a Scotch yoke called an elliptic trammel. The device uses rigid connecting rods and a floating/eccentric gear train for motion conversion and force transmission. The mechanism exhibits advantages over the slider-crank for application in internal combustion engines in areas such as balancing, size, thermal efficiency, and low heat rejection. An overview of potential advantages of an engine utilizing the Stiller-Smith Mechanism is presented.
Technical Paper

Experimental Investigation of the Heat Release Rate in a Sinusoidal Spark Ignition Engine

Compression and power stroke cycles for a 4 stroke cycle spark ignition engine modified by extending the connecting rod to simulate purely sinusoidal piston motion are analyzed over a range of operating speeds and are compared with those of a similar conventional engine. Heat release rate is estimated for both engines using a simple Wiebe function with the functional parameters found via a simplex curve fitting method used in conjunction with experimental pressure curves. It is shown that the functional parameters which represent the combustion and the duration of fuel burn are slightly larger over the range of operation in the sinusoidal engine while the shape factor remains largely the same. However, the pressure-crank angle curves are sufficiently similar such that conventional slider-crank curves can be used to model sinusoidal engines, which was the motivation behind this research.
Technical Paper

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

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

and Repeatability of Transient Heat Release Analysis for Heavy Duty Diesel Engines

Reduced emissions, improved fuel economy, and improved performance are a priority for manufacturers of internal combustion engines. However, these three goals are normally interrelated and difficult to optimize simultaneously. Studying the experimental heat release provides a useful tool for combustion optimization. Heavy-duty diesel engines are inherently transient, even during steady state operation engine controls can vary due to exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or aftertreatment requirements. This paper examines the heat release and the derived combustion characteristics during steady state and transient operation for a 1992 DDC series 60 engine and a 2004 Cummins ISM 370 engine. In-cylinder pressure was collected during repeat steady state SET and the heavy-duty transient FTP test cycles.
Technical Paper

CAD/CFD/CAE Modelling of Wankel Engines for UAV

The Wankel engine for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) applications delivers advantages vs. piston engines of simplicity, smoothness, compactness and high power-to-weight ratio. The use of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) tools may permit to address the major downfalls of these engines, namely the slow and incomplete combustion due to the low temperatures and the rotating combustion chambers. The paper proposes the results of CAD/CFD/CAE modelling of a Wankel engine featuring tangential jet ignition to produce faster and more complete combustion.
Technical Paper

A Naturally Aspirated Four Stroke Racing Engine with One Intake and One Exhaust Horizontal Rotary Valve per Cylinder and Central Direct Injection and Ignition by Spark or Jet

The paper discusses the benefits of a four stroke engine having one intake and one exhaust rotary valve. The rotary valve has a speed of rotation half the crankshaft and defines an open passage that may permit up to extremely sharp opening or closing and very large gas exchange areas. The dual rotary valve design is applied to a racing engine naturally aspirated V-four engine of 1000cc displacement, gasoline fuelled with central direct injection and spark ignition. The engine is then modeled by using a 1D engine & gas dynamics simulation software package to assess the potentials of the solution. The improved design produces much larger power densities than the version of the engines with traditional poppet valves revving at higher speeds, with reduced frictional losses, and with larger gas exchange areas while also improving the fuel conversion efficiency thanks to the sharpness of opening or closing events.
Technical Paper

Study on the Use of Springs in a Dual Free Piston Engine Alternator

The free piston engine combined with a linear electric alternator has the potential to be a highly efficient converter from fossil fuel energy to electrical power. With only a single major moving part (the translating rod), mechanical friction is reduced compared to conventional crankshaft technology. Instead of crankshaft linkages, the motion of the translator is driven by the force balance between the engine cylinder, alternator, damping losses, and springs. Focusing primarily on mechanical springs, this paper explores the use of springs to increase engine speed and reduce cyclic variability. A numeric model has been constructed in MATLAB®/Simulink to represent the various subsystems, including the engine, alternator, and springs. Within the simulation is a controller that forces the engine to operate at a constant compression ratio by affecting the alternator load.
Technical Paper

E-KERS Energy Management Crucial to Improved Fuel Economy

The operation of a conventional passenger car is characterised by increasing or maintaining the kinetic energy, when accelerating or cruising the vehicle, and reducing the kinetic energy by using the brakes. While the energy taken by the friction brakes to slow the vehicle is dissipated into heat, the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) has permitted the recovery of part of the braking energy. This reduces the amount of energy needed from the internal combustion engine (ICE). The contribution reviews the latest developments in electric KERS (E-KERS), with emphasis to round trip efficiency wheels to wheels and electrification of the powertrain. The contribution considers the opportunity to connect the E-KERS traction battery to other electric machines, such as an electrically assisted turbocharger (E-TC) connected to a motor/generator unit, or an electric water pump (EWP), to further optimise the vehicle operation.
Technical Paper

Experimental Investigation of Dielectrics for Use in Quarter Wave Coaxial Resonators

Current research has involved manipulating the ignition inside of the combustion chamber. It has been demonstrated that an RF plasma flame can be generated from microwaves in a Quarter Wave Coaxial Cavity Resonator (QWCCR). By using this method, it may become possible for researchers to improve combustion and ignition characteristics of a modern internal combustion engine. Filling a plasma cavity with an appropriate dielectric medium can both alter electromagnetic properties and provide a suitable protective barrier to the harsh condition inside of a combustion cylinder. It is the purpose of this paper is to investigate both the operating frequency and quality factor of dielectric-filled cavities, as well as to suggest dielectrics that would be suitable for such an application.
Technical Paper

Numerical Simulation of a Two-Stroke Linear Engine-Alternator Combination

Series hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) require power-plants that can generate electrical energy without specifically requiring rotary input shaft motion. A small-bore working prototype of a two-stroke spark ignited linear engine-alternator combination has been designed, constructed and tested and has been found to produce as much as 316W of electrical energy. This engine consists of two opposed pistons (of 36 mm diameter) linked by a connecting rod with a permanent magnet alternator arranged on the reciprocating shaft. This paper presents the numerical modeling of the operation of the linear engine. The piston motion of the linear engine is not mechanically defined: it rather results from the balance of the in-cylinder pressures, inertia, friction, and the load applied to the shaft by the alternator, along with history effects from the previous cycle. The engine computational model combines dynamic and thermodynamic analyses.
Technical Paper

Misfire, Knock and NOx Mapping of a Laser Spark Ignited Single Cylinder Lean Burn Natural Gas Engine

Evermore demanding market and legislative pressures require stationary lean burn natural gas engines to operate at higher efficiencies and reduced levels of emissions. Higher in-cylinder pressures and leaner air/fuel ratios are required in order to meet these demands. The performance and durability of spark plug ignition systems suffer as a result of the increase in spark energy required to maintain suitable engine operation under these conditions. Advancing the state of the art of ignition systems for these engines is critical to meeting increased performance requirements. Laser-spark ignition has shown potential to improve engine performance and ignition system durability to levels required meet or exceed projected requirements. This paper discusses testing which extends previous efforts [1] to include constant fueling knock, misfire, thermal efficiency, and NOx emissions mapping of a single cylinder lean burn natural gas engine.
Journal Article

Resonance of a Spring Opposed Free Piston Engine Device

Recent free piston engine research reported in the literature has included development efforts for single and dual cylinder devices through both simulation and prototype operation. A single cylinder, spring opposed, oscillating linear engine and alternator (OLEA) is a suitable architecture for application as a steady state generator. Such a device could be tuned and optimized for peak efficiency and nominal power at unthrottled operation. One of the significant challenges facing researchers is startup of the engine. It could be achieved by operating the alternator in a motoring mode according to the natural system resonant frequency, effectively bouncing the translator between the spring and cylinder, increasing stroke until sufficient compression is reached to allow introduction of fuel and initiation of combustion. To study the natural resonance of the OLEA, a numeric model has been built to simulate multiple cycles of operation.
Journal Article

Effect of Combustion Timing and Heat Loss on Spring-Assisted Linear Engine Translator Motion

The free piston linear engine has the potential to achieve high efficiency and might serve as a viable platform for robust implementation of low temperature combustion schemes (such as homogeneous charge compression ignition - HCCI) due to its ability to vary compression and stroke in response to cylinder and load events. A major challenge is control of the translator motion. Lack of geometric constraint on the piston leads to uncertainty about its top dead center position and timing. While combustion control depends on knowledge of the piston motion, the combustion event also affects the motion profile of the piston. To advance understanding of this coupled system, a numeric model was developed to simulate multiple cycles of a dual cylinder, spring assisted, 2-stroke HCCI, free piston linear engine generator.
Journal Article

Fundamental Analysis of Spring-Varied, Free Piston, Otto Engine Device

Conventional crank-based engines are limited by mechanical, thermal, and combustion inefficiencies. The free piston of a linear engine generator reduces frictional losses by avoiding the rotational motion and crankshaft linkages. Instead, electrical power is generated by the oscillation of a translator through a linear stator. Because the free piston is not geometrically constrained, dead center positions are not specifically known. This results in a struggle against adverse events like misfire, stall, over-fueling, or rapid load changes. It is the belief that incorporating springs will have the dual benefit of increasing frequency and providing a restoring force to aid in greater cycle to cycle stability. For dual free piston linear engines the addition of springs has not been fully explored, despite growing interest and literature.
Technical Paper

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

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

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.