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Technical Paper

Laser Ignition in a Pre-Mixed Engine: The Effect of Focal Volume and Energy Density on Stability and the Lean Operating Limit

A series of tests using an open beam laser ignition system in an engine run on pre-mixed, gaseous fuels were performed. The ignition system for the engine was a 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser. A single cylinder research engine was run on pre-mixed iso-butane and propane to determine the lean limit of the engine using laser ignition. In addition, the effect of varying the energy density of the ignition kernel was investigated by changing the focal volume and by varying laser energy. The results indicate that for a fixed focal volume, there is a threshold beyond which increasing the energy density [kJ/m3] yields little or no benefit. In contrast, increasing the energy density by reducing the focal volume size decreases lean performance once the focal volume is reduced past a certain point. The effect of ignition location relative to different surfaces in the engine was also investigated. The results show a slight bias in favor of igniting closer to a surface with low thermal conductivity.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Sparkplug Design on Initial Flame Kernel Development and Sparkplug Performance

Tests were conducted on a variety of commercially available spark plugs to determine the influence of igniter design on initial kernel formation and overall performance. Flame kernel formation was investigated using high-speed schlieren visualization. The flame growth rate was quantified using the area of the burned gas region. The results showed that kernel growth rate was heavily influenced by electrode geometry and configuration. The igniters were also tested in a bomb calorimeter to determine the levels of supplied and delivered energy. The typical ratio of supplied to delivered energy was 20% and igniters with a higher internal resistance delivered more energy and had faster kernel formation rates. The exception was plugs with large amounts of conductive mass near the electrodes, which had very slow kernel formation rates despite relatively high delivered energy levels.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Hydrogen Enrichment on EGR Tolerance in Spark Ignited Engines

Small (up to 1% by volume) amounts of hydrogen (H2) were added to the intake charge of a single-cylinder, stoichiometric spark ignited engine to determine the effect of H2 addition on EGR tolerance. Two types of tests were performed at 1500 rpm, two loads (3.1 bar and 5.5 bar IMEP), two compression ratios (11:1 and 14:1) and with two fuels (gasoline and natural gas). The first test involved holding EGR level constant and increasing the H2 concentration. The EGR level of the engine was increased until the CoV of IMEP was > 5% and then small amounts of hydrogen were added until the total was 1% by volume. The effect of increasing the amount of H2 on engine stability was measured along with combustion parameters and engine emissions. The results showed that only a very small amount of H2 was necessary to stabilize the engine. At amounts past that level, increasing the level of H2 had no or only a very small effect.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Fuel Injection on the Velocity Fluctuations in the Bowl of a DISI Engine

Swirl plane Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements were performed in a single-cylinder optically accessible gasoline direct injection (DISI) engine using a borescope introduced through the spark plug hole. This allowed the use of a contoured piston and the visualization of the flow field in and around the piston bowl. The manifold absolute pressure (MAP) was fixed at 90 kPa and the engine speed was varied in increments of 250 rpm from 750 rpm to 2000 rpm. Images were taken from 270° to 320° bTDC of compression at 10° intervals to study the evolution of the velocity fluctuations. Measurements were performed with and without fuel injection to study its effect on the in-cylinder flow fields. Fuel was injected at 10 MPa and 5 MPa. The 2-D spatial mean velocities of individual flow fields and their decompositions were averaged over 100 cycles and used to investigate the effects of engine speed and image timing on the flow field.
Technical Paper

The Heavy Duty Gasoline Engine - A Multi-Cylinder Study of a High Efficiency, Low Emission Technology

SwRI has developed a new technology concept involving the use of high EGR rates coupled with a high-energy ignition system in a gasoline engine to improve fuel economy and emissions. Based on a single-cylinder study [1], this study extends the concept of a high compression ratio gasoline engine with EGR rates > 30% and a high-energy ignition system to a multi-cylinder engine. A 2000 MY Isuzu Duramax 6.6 L 8-cylinder engine was converted to run on gasoline with a diesel pilot ignition system. The engine was run at two compression ratios, 17.5:1 and 12.5:1 and with two different EGR systems - a low-pressure loop and a high pressure loop. A high cetane number (CN) diesel fuel (CN=76) was used as the ignition source and two different octane number (ON) gasolines were investigated - a pump grade 91 ON ((R+M)/2) and a 103 ON ((R+M)/2) racing fuel.
Journal Article

Synergies between High EGR Operation and GDI Systems

A gasoline direct injection engine was operated at elevated EGR levels over a significant portion of the performance map. The engine was modified to use both cooled and un-cooled EGR in high pressure loop and low pressure loop configurations. The addition of EGR at low and part load was shown to decrease NO and CO emissions and to reduce fuel consumption by up to 4%, primarily through the reduction in pumping losses. At high loads, the addition of EGR resulted in higher fuel consumption benefits of 10-20% as well as the expected NO and CO reductions. The fuel economy benefit at high loads resulted from a decrease in knock tendency and a subsequent improvement in combustion phasing as well as reductions in exhaust temperatures that eliminated the requirement for over-fuelling.
Journal Article

Ethanol Flex-fuel Engine Improvements with Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Hydrogen Enrichment

An investigation was performed to identify the benefits of cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) when applied to a potential ethanol flexible fuelled vehicle (eFFV) engine. The fuels investigated in this study represented the range a flex-fuel engine may be exposed to in the United States; from 85% ethanol/gasoline blend (E85) to regular gasoline. The test engine was a 2.0-L in-line 4 cylinder that was turbocharged and port fuel injected (PFI). Ethanol blended fuels, including E85, have a higher octane rating and produce lower exhaust temperatures compared to gasoline. EGR has also been shown to decrease engine knock tendency and decrease exhaust temperatures. A natural progression was to take advantage of the superior combustion characteristics of E85 (i.e. increase compression ratio), and then employ EGR to maintain performance with gasoline. When EGR alone could not provide the necessary knock margin, hydrogen (H2) was added to simulate an onboard fuel reformer.
Journal Article

Dedicated EGR: A New Concept in High Efficiency Engines

The use of high levels of EGR has been documented to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions of spark ignition engines [1–5]. However, these engines typically face challenges in EGR control and tolerance, which can reduce the expected efficiency improvement. A concept developed by Southwest Research Institute explores the potential of an engine with individual cylinders dedicated to EGR production to overcome the challenges associated with EGR tolerance and control. In this study, a 4-cylinder engine was run with cylinder 1 exhausting directly to the intake manifold, leading to a constant 25% EGR level. The engine was run naturally aspirated over a large portion of the performance map at an ultra-high (14:1) compression ratio. As a part of the study, air-to-fuel ratio in cylinder 1 was varied from stoichiometric to rich to determine the effect of the products of partial combustion on EGR tolerance and fuel consumption.