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Technical Paper

An Experimental Study of Combustion Initiation and development in an Optical HCCI Engine

The major characteristics of the combustion in Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines, irrespective of the technological strategy used to enable the ‘controlled auto-ignition’, are that the mixture of fuel and air is preferably premixed and largely homogeneous. Ignition tends to take place simultaneously at multiple points and there is no bulk flame propagation as in conventional spark-ignition (SI) engines. This paper presents an experimental study of flame development in an optical engine operating in HCCI combustion mode. High resolution and high-speed charge coupled device (CCD) cameras were used to take images of the flame during the combustion process. Fuels include gasoline, natural gas (NG) and hydrogen addition to NG all at stoichiometric conditions, permitting the investigation of combustion development for each fuel. The flame imaging data was supplemented by simultaneously recorded in-cylinder pressure data.
Technical Paper

Residual Gas Trapping for Natural Gas HCCI

With the high auto ignition temperature of natural gas, various approaches such as high compression ratios and/or intake charge heating are required for auto ignition. Another approach utilizes the trapping of internal residual gas (as used before in gasoline controlled auto ignition engines), to lower the thermal requirements for the auto ignition process in natural gas. In the present work, the achievable engine load range is controlled by the degree of internal trapping of exhaust gas supplemented by intake charge heating. Special valve strategies were used to control the internal retention of exhaust gas. Significant differences in the degree of valve overlap were necessary when compared to gasoline operation at the same speeds and loads, resulting in lower amounts of residual gas observed. The dilution effect of residual gas trapping is hence reduced, resulting in higher NOx emissions for the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio operation as compared to gasoline.
Technical Paper

Effect of Hydrogen Addition on Natural Gas HCCI Combustion

Natural gas has a high auto-ignition temperature, requiring high compression ratios and/or intake charge heating to achieve HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) engine operation. Previous work by the authors has shown that hydrogen addition improves combustion stability in various difficult combustion conditions. It is shown here that hydrogen, together with residual gas trapping, helps also in lowering the intake temperature required for HCCI. It has been argued in literature that the addition of hydrogen advances the start of combustion in the cylinder. This would translate into the lowering of the minimum intake temperature required for auto-ignition to occur during the compression stroke. The experimental results of this work show that, with hydrogen replacing part of the fuel, a decrease in intake air temperature requirement is observed for a range of engine loads, with larger reductions in temperature noted at lower loads.
Journal Article

Dual-Injection as a Knock Mitigation Strategy Using Pure Ethanol and Methanol

For spark ignition (SI) engines, the optimum spark timing is crucial for maximum efficiency. However, as the spark timing is advanced, so the propensity to knock increases, thus compromising efficiency. One method to suppress knock is to use high octane fuel additives. However, the blend ratio of these additives cannot be varied on demand. Therefore, with the advent of aggressive downsizing, new knock mitigation techniques are required. Fortuitously, there are two well-known lower alcohols which exhibit attractive knock mitigation properties: ethanol and methanol. Both not only have high octane ratings, but also result in greater charge-cooling than with gasoline. In the current work, the authors have exploited these attractive properties with the dual-injection, or the dual-fuel concept (gasoline in PFI and fuel additive in DI) using pure ethanol and methanol.