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Technical Paper

Correlation of Air Fuel Ratio with Ionization Signal Metrics in a Multicylinder Spark Ignited Engine

Accurate individual cylinder Air Fuel Ratio (AFR) feedback provide opportunities for improved engine performance and reduced emissions in spark ignition engines. One potential measurement for individual cylinder AFR is in-cylinder ionization measured by employing the spark plug as a sensor. A number of previous investigations have studied correlations of the ionization signal with AFR and shown promising results. However the studies have typically been limited to single cylinders under restricted operating conditions. This investigation analyzes and characterizes the ionization signals in correlation to individual AFR values obtained from wide-band electrochemical oxygen sensors located in the exhaust runners of each cylinder. Experimental studies for this research were conducted on a 2.0L inline 4 cylinder spark ignited engine with dual independent variable cam phasing and an intake charge motion control valve.
Technical Paper

Impact of Operating Parameters on Ignition System Energy Consumption

The use of cooled EGR in gasoline engines improves the fuel efficiency of the engine through a variety of mechanisms, including improving the charge properties (e.g. the ratio of specific heats), reducing knock and enabling higher compression ratio operation and, at part loads conditions in particular, reducing pumping work. One of the limiting factors on the level of improvement from cooled EGR is the ability of the ignition system to ignite a dilute mixture and maintain engine stability. Previous work from SwRI has shown that, by increasing the ignition duration and using a continuous discharge ignition system, an improved ignition system can substantially increase the EGR tolerance of an engine [1, 2]. This improvement comes at a cost, however, of increased ignition system energy requirements and a potential decrease in spark plug durability. This work examines the impact of engine operating parameters on the ignition energy requirements under high dilution operation.
Technical Paper

Transient Control of a Dedicated EGR Engine

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has successfully demonstrated the cooled EGR concept via the High Efficiency Dilute Gasoline Engine (HEDGE) consortium. Dilution of intake charge provides three significant benefits - (1) Better Cycle Efficiency (2) Knock Resistance and (3) Lower NOx/PM Emissions. But EGR dilution also poses challenges in terms of combustion stability, condensation and power density. The Dedicated EGR (D-EGR) concept brings back some of the stability lost due to EGR dilution by introducing reformates such as CO and H2 into the intake charge. Control of air, EGR, fuel, and ignition remains a challenge to realizing the aforementioned benefits without sacrificing performance and drivability. This paper addresses the DEGR solution from a controls standpoint. SwRI has been developing a unified framework for controlling a generic combustion engine (gasoline, diesel, dual-fuel natural gas etc.).
Technical Paper

A High-Energy Continuous Discharge Ignition System for Dilute Engine Applications

SwRI has developed the DCO® ignition system, a unique continuous discharge system that allows for variable duration/energy events in SI engines. The system uses two coils connected by a diode and a multi-striking controller to generate a continuous current flow through the spark plug of variable duration. A previous publication demonstrated the ability of the DCO system to improve EGR tolerance using low energy coils. In this publication, the work is extended to high current (≻ 300 mA/high energy (≻ 200 mJ) coils and compared to several advanced ignition systems. The results from a 4-cylinder, MPI application demonstrate that the higher current/higher energy coils offer an improvement over the lower energy coils. The engine was tested at a variety of speed and load conditions operating at stoichiometric air-fuel ratios with gasoline and EGR dilution.
Technical Paper

Impact of Ignition Energy Phasing and Spark Gap on Combustion in a Homogenous Direct Injection Gasoline SI Engine Near the EGR Limit

For spark-ignition gasoline engines operating under the wide speed and load conditions required for light duty vehicles, ignition quality limits the ability to minimize fuel consumption and NOx emissions via dilution under light and part load conditions. In addition, during transients including tip-outs, high levels of dilution can occur for multiple combustion events before either the external exhaust gas can be adjusted and cleared from the intake or cam phasing can be adjusted for correct internal dilution. Further improvement and a thorough understanding of the impact of the ignition system on combustion near the dilution limit will enable reduced fuel consumption and robust transient operation. To determine and isolate the effects of multiple parameters, a variable output ignition system (VOIS) was developed and tested on a 3.5L turbocharged V6 homogeneous charge direct-injection gasoline engine with two spark plug gaps and three ignition settings.
Technical Paper

Efficiency and Emissions Characteristics of Partially Premixed Dual-Fuel Combustion by Co-Direct Injection of NG and Diesel Fuel (DI2) - Part 2

The CO2 advantage coupled with the low NOX and PM potential of natural gas (NG) makes it well-suited for meeting future greenhouse gas (GHG) and NOX regulations for on-road medium and heavy-duty engines. However, because NG is mostly methane, reduced combustion efficiency associated with traditional NG fueling strategies can result in significant levels of methane emissions which offset the CO2 advantage due to reduced efficiency and the high global warming potential of methane. To address this issue, the unique co-direct injection capability of the Westport HPDI fuel system was leveraged to obtain a partially-premixed fuel charge by injecting NG during the compression stroke followed by diesel injection for ignition timing control. This combustion strategy, referred to as DI2, was found to improve thermal and combustion efficiencies over fumigated dual-fuel combustion modes.
Technical Paper

Achieving 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOx Emissions from a Heavy-Duty Stoichiometric Natural Gas Engine Equipped with Three-Way Catalyst

It is projected that even when the entire on-road fleet of heavy-duty vehicles operating in California is compliant with 2010 emission standards of 0.20 g/bhp-hr, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) requirements for ambient ozone will not be met. It is expected that further reductions in NOX emissions from the heavy-duty fleet will be required to achieve compliance with the ambient ozone requirement. To study the feasibility of further reductions, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) funded a research program to demonstrate the potential to reach 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOX emissions. This paper details the work executed to achieve this goal on the heavy-duty Federal Test Procedure (FTP) with a heavy-duty natural gas engine equipped with a three-way catalyst. A Cummins ISX-12G natural gas engine was modified and coupled with an advanced catalyst system.
Technical Paper

Selective Interrupt and Control: An Open ECU Alternative

To enable the evaluation of off-calibration powertrain operation, a selective interrupt and control (SIC) test capability was developed as part of an EPA evaluation of a 1.6 L EcoBoost® engine. A control and data acquisition device sits between the stock powertrain controller and the engine; the device selectively passes through or modifies control signals while also simulating feedback signals. This paper describes the development process of SIC that enabled a test engineer to command off-calibration setpoints for intake and exhaust cam phasing as well as ignition timing without the need for an open ECU duplicating the stock calibration. Results are presented demonstrating the impact of ignition timing and cam phasing on engine efficiency. When coupled with combustion analysis and crank-domain data acquisition, this test configuration provides a complete picture of powertrain performance.
Technical Paper

The New BAIC High Efficiency Turbocharged Engine with LPL-EGR

The new Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) engine, an evolution of the 2.3L 4-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine from Saab, was designed, built, and tested with close collaboration between BAIC Motor Powertrain Co., Ltd. and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI®). The upgraded engine was intended to achieve low fuel consumption and a good balance of high performance and compliance with Euro 6 emissions regulations. Low fuel consumption was achieved primarily through utilizing cooled low pressure loop exhaust gas recirculation (LPL-EGR) and dual independent cam phasers. Cooled LPL-EGR helped suppress engine knock and consequently allowed for increased compression ratio and improved thermal efficiency of the new engine. Dual independent cam phasers reduced engine pumping losses and helped increase low-speed torque. Additionally, the intake and exhaust systems were improved along with optimization of the combustion chamber design.
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

Using the Cone Calorimeter to Predict FMVSS 302 Performance of Interior and Exterior Automotive Materials

Forty-eight materials from parts used inside and outside the passenger compartment of six motor vehicles were tested according to FMVSS 302. All samples passed the test although the FMVSS 302 test requirements do not apply to exterior materials. The same materials were also tested in the Cone Calorimeter (ASTM E 1354) at three heat fluxes. The FMVSS 302 performance diagram developed earlier on the basis of Cone Calorimeter data for 18 exterior materials from two vehicles appears to have more general validity for solid plastic parts, regardless whether they are taken from locations inside or outside of the passenger compartment. The previously-developed performance diagram is not applicable to plastic foams and fabrics. Additional criteria are proposed to predict whether a foam or fabric is likely to pass the FMVSS 302 test based on ignition time and peak heat release rate measured in the Cone Calorimeter at a heat flux of 35 kW/m2.
Technical Paper

Effects of Engine Operating Conditions on In-Cylinder Air/Fuel Ratio Detection Using a Production Ion Sensing Device

In-cylinder ion sensing through sparkplug electrodes can be used to determine in-cylinder A/F ratio by using a modified production coil-on-plug ignition system having ion sensing capability. The in-cylinder ionization can be characterized by the height of the peak, location of the peak from ignition command and area under the ionization signal curve. The effects of A/F ratio on the in-cylinder ionization can be isolated from other affecting factors by conducting tests on a constant volume combustion device in which the initial pressure and temperature can be well controlled. This results in a parabolic correlation of the ionization characteristics with the mixture equivalence ratio. Additionally the ionization characteristics show strong dependence on engine load and speed. Equivalence ratio characteristics during engine cranking and warm up are investigated, and a method for on-line calibration of ionization detection is discussed.
Technical Paper

Electronic Fuel System Development for Air-Cooled Motorcycles

Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) has developed electronic fuel injection (EFI) systems to be used on air-cooled motorcycle applications. In order to explore differences in application requirements between large and small displacement motorcycles, a large twin-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled motorcycle, and a small single cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled motorcycle were utilized. The primary objectives of this study were to meet current and future emissions regulations for motorcycle exhaust emissions, to raise fuel economy, and to improve overall engine performance. The EFI development required baseline testing, control system setup, design of intake system components, installation of sensors and control unit, fuel system integration, steady-state and transient calibration, fuel consumption development, emissions development, performance improvement, and acceleration testing.
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.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Flow Conditions and Tumble near the Spark Plug in a DI Optical Engine at Ignition

Tumble motion plays a significant role in modern spark-ignition engines in that it promotes mixing of air/fuel for homogeneous combustion and increases the flame propagation speed for higher thermal efficiency and lower combustion variability. Cycle-by-cycle variations in the flow near the spark plug introduce variability to the initial flame kernel development, stretching, and convection, and this variability is carried over to the entire combustion process. The design of current direct-injection spark-ignition engines aims to have a tumble flow in the vicinity of the spark plug at the time of ignition. This work investigates how the flow condition changes in the vicinity of the spark plug throughout the late compression stroke via high-speed imaging of a long ignition discharge arc channel and its stretching, and via flow field measurement by particle imaging velocimetry.
Journal Article

A Continuous Discharge Ignition System for EGR Limit Extension in SI Engines

A novel continuous inductive discharge ignition system has been developed that allows for variable duration ignition events in SI engines. The system uses a dual-coil design, where two coils are connected by a diode, combined with the multi-striking coil concept, to generate a continuous current flow through the spark plug. The current level and duration can be regulated by controlling the number of re-strikes that each coil performs or the energy density the primary coils are charged to. Compared to other extended duration systems, this system allows for fairly high current levels during the entire discharge event while avoiding the extremely high discharge levels associated with other, shorter duration, high energy ignition systems (e.g. the plasma jet [ 1 , 2 ], railplug [ 3 ] or laser ignition systems [ 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 ].
Journal Article

A Study Isolating the Effect of Bore-to-Stroke Ratio on Gasoline Engine Combustion Chamber Development

A unique single cylinder engine was used to assess engine performance and combustion characteristics at three different strokes, with all other variables held constant. The engine utilized a production four-valve, pentroof cylinder head with an 86mm bore. The stock piston was used, and a variable deck height design allowed three crankshafts with strokes of 86, 98, and 115mm to be tested. The compression ratio was also held constant. The engine was run with a controlled boost-to-backpressure ratio to simulate turbocharged operation, and the valve events were optimized for each operating condition using intake and exhaust cam phasers. EGR rates were swept from zero to twenty percent under low and high speed conditions, at MBT and maximum retard ignition timings. The increased stroke engines demonstrated efficiency gains under all operating conditions, as well as measurably reduced 10-to-90 percent burn durations.
Journal Article

Advanced Ignition Systems Evaluations for High-Dilution SI Engines

A series of ignition systems were evaluated for their suitability for high-EGR SI engine applications. Testing was performed in a constant-volume combustion chamber and in a single-cylinder research engine, with EGR rates of up to 40% evaluated. All of the evaluated systems were able to initiate combustion at a simulated 20% EGR level, but not all of the resulting combustion rates were adequate for stable engine operation. High energy spark discharge systems were better, and could ignite a flame at up to 40% simulated EGR, though again the combustion rates were slow relative to that required for stable engine performance. The most effective systems for stable combustion at high EGR rates were systems which created a large effective flame kernel and/or a long kernel lifetime, such as a torch-style prechamber spark plug or a corona discharge igniter.
Journal Article

Effects of EGR Dilution and Fuels on Spark Plug Temperatures in Gasoline Engines

The addition of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) has demonstrated the potential to significantly improve engine efficiency by allowing high CR operation due to a reduction in knock tendency, heat transfer, and pumping losses. In addition, EGR also reduces the engine-out emission of nitrogen oxides, particulates, and carbon monoxide while further improving efficiency at stoichiometric air/fuel ratios. However, improvements in efficiency through enhanced combustion phasing at high compression ratios can result in a significant increase in cylinder pressure. As cylinder pressure and temperature are both important parameters for estimating the durability requirements of the engine - in effect specifying the material and engineering required for the head and block - the impact of EGR on surface temperatures, when combined with the cylinder pressure data, will provide an important understanding of the design requirements for future cylinder heads.
Journal Article

The Interaction of Fuel Anti-Knock Index and Cooled EGR on Engine Performance and Efficiency

Experiments were performed on a 2.4L boosted, MPI gasoline engine, equipped with a low-pressure loop (LPL) cooled EGR system and an advanced ignition system, using fuels with varying anti-knock indices. The fuels were blends of 87, 93 and 105 Anti-Knock Index (AKI) gasoline. Ignition timing and EGR sweeps were performed at various loads to determine the tradeoff between EGR level and fuel octane rating. The resulting engine data was analyzed to establish the relationship between the octane requirement and the level of cooled EGR used in a given application. In addition, the combustion difference between fuels was examined to determine the effect that fuel reactivity, in the form of anti-knock index (AKI), has on EGR tolerance and burn rate. The results indicate that the improvement in effective AKI of the fuel from using EGR is constant across commercial grade gasolines at about 0.5 ON per % EGR.