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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.
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

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.
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.