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Technical Paper

Effect of Hydrogen Enrichment on Flame Morphology and Combustion Evolution in a SI Engine Under Lean Burn Conditions

Uncertainty of fuel supply in the energy sector and environmental protection concerns have motivated studies on clean and renewable alternative fuels for vehicles as well as stationary applications. Among all fuel candidates, hydrogen is generally believed to be a promising alternative, with significant potential for a wide range of operating conditions. In this study, a comparison was carried out between CH4, two CH4/H2 blends and two mixtures of CO and H2, the last one taken as a reference composition representative of syngas. It is imperative to fully understand and characterize how these fuels behave in various conditions. In particular, a deep knowledge of how hydrogen concentrations affect the combustion process is necessary, given that it represents a fundamental issue for the optimization of internal combustion engines. To this aim, flame morphology and combustion stability were studied in a SI engine under lean burn conditions.
Technical Paper

Optical Investigation of Post-injection Strategy Impact on the Fuel Vapor within the Exhaust Line of a Light Duty Diesel Engine Supplied with Biodiesel Blends

Multi-wavelength ultraviolet-visible extinction spectroscopy was applied to follow the evolution of fuel vapor injected by post-injection along the exhaust line of a common-rail turbocharged direct-injection diesel engine at moderate speed and load. The exhaust line was specifically designed and customized to allow the insertion of the optical access upstream of the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst. During the experimental campaign, the engine was fuelled with commercial B5 fuel and a B30 v/v blend of RME and ultra low sulfur diesel, monitoring emissions upstream of the catalyst and exhaust gas temperature across the catalyst. Tests were performed at different engine operating conditions with particular attention to moderate speed and load.
Technical Paper

Optical Investigation of the Effect on the Combustion Process of Butanol-Gasoline Blend in a PFI SI Boosted Engine

The addition of alcohol to conventional hydrocarbon fuels for a spark-ignition engine can increase the fuel octane rating and the power for a given engine displacement and compression ratio. In this work, the influence of butanol addition to gasoline was investigated. The experiments were performed in an optical ported fuel injection single-cylinder SI engine with an external boosting device. The engine was equipped with the head of a commercial SI turbocharged engine having the same geometrical specifications (bore, stroke and compression ratio). The effect of a blend of 20% of n-butanol and 80% of gasoline (BU20) on in-cylinder combustion process was investigated by cycle-resolved visualization. The engine worked at low speed, medium boosting and wide open throttle. Changes in spark timing and fuel injection phasing were considered. Comparisons between the flame luminosity and the combustion pressure data were performed.
Technical Paper

UV-Visible Imaging and Natural Emission Spectroscopy of Premixed Combustion in High Swirl Multi-Jets Compression Ignition Engine Fuelled with Diesel-Gasoline Blend

One promising approach to reduce pollutants from compression ignition engines is the Partially-Premixed- Combustion in which engine out emissions can be reduced by promoting mixing of fuel and air prior to auto-ignition. A great interest for a premixed combustion regime is the investigation on fuels with different reactivity by blending diesel with lower cetane number and higher volatility fuels. In fact, fuels more resistant to auto-ignition give longer ignition delay that may enhance the fuel/air mixing prior to combustion. During the ignition delay period, the fuel spray atomizes into small droplets, vaporizes and mixes with air. As the piston moves towards TDC, as soon as the mixture temperature reaches the ignition point, instantaneously some pre-mixed amount of fuel and air ignites. The balance of fuel that does not burn in premixed combustion is consumed in the rate-controlled combustion phase, also known as diffusion combustion.
Technical Paper

Flame Contour Analysis through UV-Visible Imaging during Regular and Abnormal Combustion in a DISI Engine

Crank angle resolved imaging in the UV-visible spectral range was used to investigate flame front characteristics during normal combustion, surface ignition and light knock conditions. ‘Line of sight’ measurements provided information on local wrinkling: the evaluation was based on a statistical approach, with multiple frames taken at the same crank angle during consecutive cycles. This allowed the results during normal combustion to be representative for the specific operational conditions and to a good degree independent from the effects of cyclic variation. Abnormal combustion on the other hand, was investigated on a cycle-to-cycle basis, given the stochastic nature of such phenomena. The experimental trials were performed at fixed engine speed on an optically accessible direct injection spark ignition (DISI) engine equipped with the cylinder head of a four cylinder 16-valves commercial power unit.
Technical Paper

Effect of Control Parameters in an Optical DISI Engine with Gasoline-Butanol Fueling

Effects of n-butanol on the combustion process in a direct injection spark ignition engine were investigated through flame visualization and spectroscopy. An optically accessible engine was equipped for the trials with a commercial cylinder head and wall guided injection system. Injection pressure (100 bar) and engine speed (2000 rpm) were fixed while injection timing and duration were changed to realise stoichiometric and lean fuelling in homogenous charge conditions. Specifically, UV-visible digital imaging was applied in order to study the flame front inception and propagation with particular interest in the early combustion stages. UV-visible natural emission spectroscopy was applied to investigate the formation and the evolution of the main chemical compounds characterizing the spark ignition and combustion processes. Detailed image processing allowed to correlate the morphology and the local flame front curvature with thermodynamic data.
Technical Paper

Plasma Assisted Ignition Effects on a DISI Engine Fueled with Gasoline and Butanol under Lean Conditions and with EGR

Considering the generalized diversification of the energy mix, the use of alcohols as gasoline replacement is proposed as a viable option. Also, alternative control strategies for spark ignition engines (SI) such as lean operation and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) are used on an ever wider scale for improving fuel economy and reducing the environmental impact of automotive engines. In order to increase the stability of these operating points, alternative ignition systems are currently investigated. Within this context, the present work deals about the use of plasma assisted ignition (PAI) in a direct injection (DI) SI engine under lean conditions and cooled EGR, with gasoline and n-butanol fueling. The PAI system was tested in an optically accessible single-cylinder DISI engine equipped with the head of a commercial turbocharged power unit with similar geometrical specifications (bore, stroke, compression ratio).
Technical Paper

An Experimental Investigation of Alcohol/Diesel Fuel Blends on Combustion and Emissions in a Single-Cylinder Compression Ignition Engine

UV-visible digital imaging and 2D chemiluminescence were applied on a single cylinder optically accessible compression ignition engine to investigate the effect of different alcohol/diesel fuel blends on the combustion mechanism. The growing request for greenhouse gas emission reduction imposes to consider the use of alternative fuels with the aim of both partially replacing the diesel fuel and reducing the fossil fuel consumption. To this purpose, the use of ABE (Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol) fermentation could represent an effective solution. Even if the different properties of alcohols compared to Diesel fuel limit the maximum blend concentration, low blend volume fractions can be used for improving combustion efficiency and exhaust emissions. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of the different fuel properties on the combustion evolution within the combustion chamber of a prototype optically accessible compression ignition engine.
Technical Paper

Multi-Wavelength Spectroscopic Investigations of the Post-Injection Strategy Effect on the Fuel Vapor within the Exhaust Line of a Light Duty Diesel Engine Fuelled with B5 and B30

Optical diagnostic was applied to undiluted engine exhaust to supply a low cost and real time evaluation of the oil dilution tendency of selected fuels. Specifically, UV-visible-near IR extinction spectroscopy was applied in the exhaust line of a Euro 5 turbocharged, water cooled, DI diesel engine, equipped with a common rail injection system. The engine was fuelled with commercial B5 fuel and a B30 v/v blend of RME and ultra low sulfur diesel. The proposed experimental methodology allowed to identify the contribution to the multi-wavelength extinction of soot, fuel vapor, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide. Further, the evolution of each species for different post-injection interval settings was followed. On-line optical results were correlated with off-line liquid fuel absorption values. Moreover, spectroscopic measurements were linked to in-cylinder pressure related data and with HC and smoke exhaust emissions.
Technical Paper

Optical Properties Investigation of Alternative Fuels Containing Carbon-Based Nanostructures

Liquids with stable suspensions of nanoscale materials are defined as nanofluids. As reported in recent scientific literature, a very small amount of suspended nanostructures has the potential to enhance the thermo physical, transport and radiative properties of the base fluid. One of the main applications of this technology is in the field of combustion and fuels. In fact, adding nanomaterials (such as metals, oxides, carbides, nitrides, or carbon-based nanostructures) to liquid fuels is able to enhance ignition and combustion. The focus of this research is to gain a fundamental understanding of the characteristics of a nanofluid fuel prepared using carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) dispersed in butanol. This study starts with the investigation of the optical properties of the mixtures. The transmission spectra of the nanofluids are measured in a wide wavelength range from UV (250 nm) to near IR (800 nm).
Technical Paper

Correlation between Simulated Volume Fraction Burned Using a Quasi-Dimensional Model and Flame Area Measured in an Optically Accessible SI Engine

Multi-fuel operation is one of the main topics of investigative research in the field of internal combustion engines. Spark ignition (SI) power units are relatively easily adaptable to alternative liquid-as well as gaseous-fuels, with mixture preparation being the main modification required. Numerical simulations are used on an ever wider scale in engine research in order to reduce costs associated with experimental investigations. In this sense, quasi-dimensional models provide acceptable accuracy with reduced computational efforts. Within this context, the present study puts under scrutiny the assumption of spherical flame propagation and how calibration of a two-zone combustion simulation is affected when changing fuel type. A quasi-dimensional model was calibrated based on measured in-cylinder pressure, and numerical results related to the two-zone volumes were compared to recorded flame imaging.
Journal Article

Experimental Evaluation of an Advanced Ignition System for GDI Engines

A plasma ignition system was tested in a GDI engine with the target of combustion efficiency improvement without modifying engine configuration. The plasma was generated by spark discharge and successively sustained to enhance its duration up to 4 ms. The innovative ignition system was tested in an optically accessible single-cylinder DISI engine to investigate the effects of plasma on kernel stability and flame front propagation under low loads and lean mixture (λ≅1.3). The engine was equipped with the head of a commercial turbocharged engine with similar geometrical specifications (bore, stroke, compression ratio). All experiments were performed at 2000 rpm and 100 bar injection pressure. UV-visible 2D chemiluminescence was applied in order to study the flame front inception and propagation with particular interest in the early combustion stages. A bandpass filter allowed selecting luminous signal due to OH radicals.
Journal Article

Optical Diagnostics of the Pollutant Formation in a CI Engine Operating with Diesel Fuel Blends

To meet the future stringent emission standards, innovative diesel engine technology, exhaust gas after-treatment, and clean alternative fuels are required. Oxygenated fuels have showed a tendency to decrease internal combustion engine emissions. In the same time, advanced fuel injection modes can promote a further reduction of the pollutants at the exhaust without penalty for the combustion efficiency. One of the more interesting solutions is provided by the premixed low temperature combustion (LTC) mechanism jointly to lower-cetane, higher-volatility fuels. In this paper, to understand the role played by these factors on soot formation, cycle resolved visualization, UV-visible optical imaging and visible chemiluminescence were applied in an optically accessed high swirl multi-jets compression ignition engine. Combustion tests were carried out using three fuels: commercial diesel, a blend of 80% diesel with 20% gasoline (G20) and a blend of 80% diesel with 20% n-butanol (BU20).
Journal Article

UV-visible Optical Characterization of the Early Combustion Stage in a DISI Engine Fuelled with Butanol-Gasoline Blend

Detailed experimental information on the early stages of spark ignition process represent a substantial part for guiding the development of engines with higher efficiencies and reduced pollutant emissions. Flame kernel formation influences strongly combustion development inside the cylinder, especially for a direct injection spark ignition engine. This study presents the analysis of the evolution of spark-ignited flame kernels with detailed view upon cycle-to-cycle variations. Experiments are performed in a SI optical engine equipped with the cylinder head and injection system of a commercial turbocharged engine. Blend of commercial gasoline and butanol (40% by volume) is tested at stoichiometric and lean mixture conditions. Experiments are carried out at 2000 rpm through conventional tests (based on in-cylinder pressure measurements and exhaust emission analysis) and through optical diagnostics. In particular, UV-visible digital imaging and natural emission spectroscopy are applied.
Journal Article

Split Injection in a DISI Engine Fuelled with Butanol and Gasoline Analyzed through Integrated Methodologies

In this study, experiments were carried out in an optical single-cylinder Direct Injection Spark Ignition engine fuelled with n-butanol and gasoline, alternatively. The engine is equipped with the head of a commercial turbocharged engine with similar geometrical specifications (bore, stroke, compression ratio). The head has four valves and a centrally located spark device with surface charge ignition. A conventional elongated hollow Bowditch piston is used and an optical crown, accommodating fused-silica window, is screwed onto it. The injector is side mounted and features 6 holes oriented to guide the jets towards the piston crown. During the experimental activity, the injection pressure was maintained at 100 bar for all conditions; the injection timing and the number of injections were adjusted to investigate their influence on combustion and emissions.