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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

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

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

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.
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.