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Technical Paper

CFD Investigation of the Impact of Electrical Heating on the Light-off of a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst

In the last years, as a response to the more and more restrictive emission legislation, new devices (SRC, DOC, NOx-trap, DPF) have been progressively introduced as standard components of modern after-treatment system for Diesel engines. In addition, the adoption of electrical heating is nowadays regarded with interest as an effective solution to promote the light-off of the catalyst at low temperature, especially at the start-up of the engine and during the low load operation of the engine typical of the urban drive. In this work, a state-of-the-art 48 V electrical heated catalyst is considered, in order to investigate its effect in increasing the abatement efficiency of a standard DOC. The electrical heating device considered is based on a metallic support, arranged in a spiral layout, and it is heated by the Joule effect due to the passage of the electrical current.
Technical Paper

Direct Evaluation of Turbine Isentropic Efficiency in Turbochargers: CFD Assisted Design of an Innovative Measuring Technique

Turbocharging is playing today a fundamental role not only to improve automotive engine performance, but also to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions for both Spark Ignition and Diesel engines. Dedicated experimental investigations on turbochargers are therefore necessary to assess a better understanding of its performance. The availability of experimental information on turbocharger steady flow performance is an essential requirement to optimize the engine-turbocharger matching, which is usually achieved by means of simulation models. This aspect is even more important when referred to the turbine efficiency, since its swallowing capacity can be accurately evaluated through the measurement of mass flow rate, inlet temperature and pressure ratio across the machine.
Journal Article

Geometric and Fluid-Dynamic Characterization of Actual Open Cell Foam Samples by a Novel Imaging Analysis Based Algorithm

Metallic open-cell foams have proven to be valuable for many engineering applications. Their success is mainly related to mechanical strength, low density, high specific surface, good thermal exchange, low flow resistance and sound absorption properties. The present work aims to investigate three principal aspects of real foams: the geometrical characterization, the flow regime characterization, the effects of the pore size and the porosity on the pressure drop. The first aspect is very important, since the geometrical properties depend on other parameters, such as porosity, cell/pore size and specific surface. A statistical evaluation of the cell size of a foam sample is necessary to define both its geometrical characteristics and the flow pattern at a given input velocity. To this purpose, a procedure which statistically computes the number of cells and pores with a given size has been implemented in order to obtain the diameter distribution.
Journal Article

Experimental and Numerical Study of Flame Kernel Formation Processes of Propane-Air Mixture in a Pressurized Combustion Vessel

Fuel lean combustion and exhaust gas dilution are known to increase the thermal efficiency and reduce NOx emissions. In this study, experiments are performed to understand the effect of equivalence ratio on flame kernel formation and flame propagation around the spark plug for different low turbulent velocities. A series of experiments are carried out for propane-air mixtures to simulate engine-like conditions. For these experiments, equivalence ratios of 0.7 and 0.9 are tested with 20 percent mass-based exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). Turbulence is generated by a shrouded fan design in the vicinity of J-spark plug. A closed loop feedback control system is used for the fan to generate a consistent flow field. The flow profile is characterized by using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) technique. High-speed Schlieren visualization is used for the spark formation and flame propagation.
Technical Paper

Modeling Ignition and Premixed Combustion Including Flame Stretch Effects

Objective of this work is the incorporation of the flame stretch effects in an Eulerian-Lagrangian model for premixed SI combustion in order to describe ignition and flame propagation under highly inhomogeneous flow conditions. To this end, effects of energy transfer from electrical circuit and turbulent flame propagation were fully decoupled. The first ones are taken into account by Lagrangian particles whose main purpose is to generate an initial burned field in the computational domain. Turbulent flame development is instead considered only in the Eulerian gas phase for a better description of the local flow effects. To improve the model predictive capabilities, flame stretch effects were introduced in the turbulent combustion model by using formulations coming from the asymptotic theory and recently verified by means of DNS studies. Experiments carried out at Michigan Tech University in a pressurized, constant-volume vessel were used to validate the proposed approach.
Technical Paper

CFD Modeling of Gas Exchange, Fuel-Air Mixing and Combustion in Gasoline Direct-Injection Engines

Gasoline, direct injection engines represent one of the most widely adopted powertrain for passenger cars. However, further development efforts are necessary to meet the future fuel consumption and emission standards imposing an efficiency increase and a reduction of particulate matter emissions. Within this context, computational fluid dynamics is nowadays a consolidated tool to support engine design; this work is focused on the development of a set of CFD models for the prediction of combustion in modern GDI engines. The one-equation Weller model coupled with a zero-dimensional approach to handle initial flame kernel growth was applied to predict flame propagation. To account for mixture fraction fluctuations which might lead to the presence of soot precursor species, burned gas chemical composition is computed using tabulated kinetics with a presumed probability density function.
Technical Paper

A Novel 1D Co-Simulation Framework for the Prediction of Tailpipe Emissions under Different IC Engine Operating Conditions

The accurate prediction of pollutant emissions generated by IC engines is a key aspect to guarantee the respect of the emission regulation legislation. This paper describes the approach followed by the authors to achieve a strict numerical coupling of two different 1D modeling tools in a co-simulation environment, aiming at a reliable calculation of engine-out and tailpipe emissions. The main idea is to allow an accurate 1D simulation of the unsteady flows and wave motion inside the intake and exhaust systems, without resorting to an over-simplified geometrical discretization, and to rely on advanced thermodynamic combustion models and kinetic sub-models for the calculation of cylinder-out emissions. A specific fluid dynamic approach is then used to track the chemical composition along the exhaust duct-system, in order to evaluate the conversion efficiency of after-treatment devices, such as TWC, GPF, DPF, DOC, SCR and so on.
Technical Paper

Heat Transfer Analysis of Catalytic Converters during Cold Starts

The transient heat transfer behavior of an automotive catalytic converter has been simulated with OpenFOAM in 1D. The model takes into consideration the gas-solid convective heat transfer, axial wall conduction and heat capacity effects in the solid phase, but also the chemical reactions of CO oxidation, based on simplified Arrhenius and Langmuir-Hinshelwood approaches. The associated parameters are the results of data in literature tuned by experiments. Simplified cases of constant flow rates and gas temperatures in the catalyst inflow have been chosen for a comprehensive analysis of the heat and mass transfer phenomena. The impact of inlet flow temperatures and inlet flow rates on the heat up characteristics as well as in the CO emissions have been quantified. A dimensional analysis is proposed and dimensionless temperature difference and space-time coordinates are introduced.
Technical Paper

Modeling of Pressure Wave Reflection from Open-Ends in I.C.E. Duct Systems

In the most elementary treatment of plane-wave reflection at the open end of a duct system, it is often assumed that the ends are pressure nodes. This implies that pressure is assumed as a constant at the open end termination and that steady flow boundary condition is supposed as instantaneously established. While this simplifying assumption seems reasonable, it does not consider any radiation of acoustic energy from the duct into the surrounding free space; hence, an error in the estimation of the effects of the flow on the acoustical response of an open-end duct occurs. If radiation is accounted, a complicated three-dimensional wave pattern near the duct end is established, which tends to readjust the exit pressure to its steady-flow level. This adjustment process is continually modified by further incident waves, so that the effective instantaneous boundary conditions which determine the reflected waves depend on the flow history.
Technical Paper

Development of a CFD Approach to Model Fuel-Air Mixing in Gasoline Direct-Injection Engines

Direct-injection represents a consolidated technology to increase performance and efficiency in spark-ignition engines. It reduces the knock tendency and makes engine downsizing possible through the use of turbocharging. Better control of CO and HC emissions at cold-start is also ensured since there is no wall-impingement in the intake port. However, to take advantages of all the theoretical benefits derived from GDI technology, detailed investigations of both fuel-air mixing and combustion processes are necessary to extend the stratified charge operations in the engine map and to reduce soot emissions, that are now severely regulated by emission standards. In this work, the authors developed a CFD methodology to investigate and optimize the fuel-air mixing process in direct-injection, spark-ignition engines. The Eulerian-Lagrangian approach is used to model the evolution of the fuel spray emerging from a multi-hole injector.
Technical Paper

A Quasi-3D Model for the Simulation of the Unsteady Flows in I.C. Engine Pipe Systems

Increasing demands on the capabilities of engine simulation and the ability to accurately predict both performance and acoustics has lead to the development of several numerical tools to help engine manufacturers during the prototyping stage. The aid of CFD tools (3D and 1D) can remarkably reduce the duration and the costs of this stage. The need of achieving good accuracy, along with acceptable computational runtime, has given the spur to the development of a geometry based quasi-3D approach. This is designed to model the acoustics and the fluid dynamics of both intake and exhaust system components used in internal combustion engines. Models of components are built using a network of quasi-3D cells based primarily on the geometry of the system. The solution procedure is based on an explicitly time marching staggered grid approach making use of a flux limiter to prevent numerical instabilities.
Journal Article

Improving the Simulation of the Acoustic Performance of Complex Silencers for ICE by a Multi-Dimensional Non-Linear Approach

In this paper a three-dimensional time-domain CFD approach has been employed to predict and analyze the acoustic attenuation performance of complex perforated muffler geometries, where strong 3D effects limit the validity of the use of one-dimensional models. A pressure pulse has been imposed at the inlet to excite the wave motion, while unsteady flow computation have been performed to acquire the time histories of the pressures upstream and downstream of the silencer. Pressures in the time domain have been then transformed to acoustic pressures in the frequency domain, to predict the transmission loss.
Journal Article

Design of Catalytic Devices by Means of Genetic Algorithm: Comparison Between Open-Cell Foam and Honeycomb Type Substrates

Metallic foams or sponges are materials with a cell structure suitable for many industrial applications, such as reformers, heat catalytic converters, etc. The success of these materials is due to the combination of various characteristics such as mechanical strength, low density, high specific surface, good thermal exchange properties, low flow resistance and sound absorption. Different materials and manufacturing processes produce different type of structure and properties for various applications. In this work a genetic algorithm has been developed and applied to support the design of catalytic devices. In particular, two substrates were considered, namely the traditional honeycomb and an alternative open-cell foam type. CFD simulations of pressure losses and literature based correlations for the heat and mass transfer were used to support the genetic algorithm in finding the best compromise between flow resistance and pollutant abatement.
Technical Paper

Simulation of Driving Cycles by Means of a Co-Simulation Framework for the Prediction of IC Engine Tailpipe Emissions

The current European legislation concerning pollutant emissions from IC engine vehicles is very stringent and demanding. In addition, the CO2 fleet emission must obey to a significant reduction path during the next decade, to cope with the prescribed targets recently agreed. The prediction of pollutant emissions from IC engines has been a challenge since the introduction of the emission regulation legislation. During the last decade, along with the more tightening limits and increased public concern about air quality, the capability of simulating different operating conditions and driving cycles with an acceptable computational effort has become a key feature for modern simulation codes. The role of 1D thermo-fluid dynamic simulation models is extremely important to achieve this task, in order to investigate the performances of the next generation of IC engines working over a wide range of operating conditions, under steady-state and transient conditions.
Technical Paper

Numerical Optimization of a SCR System Based on the Injection of Pure Gaseous Ammonia for the NOx Reduction in Light-Duty Diesel Engines

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems are nowadays widely applied for the reduction of NOx emitted from Diesel engines. The typical process is based on the injection of aqueous urea in the exhaust gases before the SCR catalyst, which determines the production of the ammonia needed for the catalytic reduction of NOx. However, this technology is affected by two main limitations: a) the evaporation of the urea water solution (UWS) requires a sufficiently high temperature of the exhaust gases and b) the formation of solid deposits during the UWS evaporation is a frequent phenomenon which compromise the correct operation of the system. In this context, to overcome these issues, a technology based on the injection of gaseous ammonia has been recently proposed: in this case, ammonia is stored at the solid state in a cartridge containing a Strontium Chloride salt and it is desorbed by means of electrical heating.