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An Optical and Numerical Characterization of Directly Injected Compressed Natural Gas Jet Development at Engine-Relevant Conditions

Compressed natural gas (CNG) is an attractive, alternative fuel for spark-ignited (SI), internal combustion (IC) engines due to its high octane rating, and low energy-specific CO2 emissions compared with gasoline. Directly-injected (DI) CNG in SI engines has the potential to dramatically decrease vehicles’ carbon emissions; however, optimization of DI CNG fueling systems requires a thorough understanding of the behavior of CNG jets in an engine environment. This paper therefore presents an experimental and modeling study of DI gaseous jets, using methane as a surrogate for CNG. Experiments are conducted in a non-reacting, constant volume chamber (CVC) using prototype injector hardware at conditions relevant to modern DI engines. The schlieren imaging technique is employed to investigate how the extent of methane jets is impacted by changing thermodynamic conditions in the fuel rail and chamber.