Reaching for higher loads and improving combustion-phasing control are important challenges for HCCI research. Although HCCI engines can operate with a variety of fuels, recent research has shown that fuels with two-stage autoignition have some significant advantages for overcoming these challenges. Because the amount of low-temperature heat release (LTHR) is proportional to the local equivalence ratio (ϕ), fuel stratification can be used to adjust the combustion phasing (CA50) and/or burn duration using various fuel-injection strategies. Two-stage ignition fuels also allow stable combustion even for extensive combustion-phasing retard, which reduces the knocking propensity. Finally, the LTHR reduces the required intake temperature, which increases the inducted charge mass for a given intake pressure, allowing higher fueling rates before knocking and NOx emissions become a problem. However, the amount of LTHR is normally highly dependent on the engine speed.
EGR can be used beneficially to control combustion phasing in HCCI engines. To better understand the function of EGR, this study experimentally investigates the thermodynamic and chemical effects of real EGR, simulated EGR, dry EGR, and individual EGR constituents (N2, CO2, and H2O) on the autoignition processes. This was done for gasoline and various PRF blends. The data show that addition of real EGR retards the autoignition timing for all fuels. However, the amount of retard is dependent on the specific fuel type. This can be explained by identifying and quantifying the various underlying mechanisms, which are: 1) Thermodynamic cooling effect due to increased specific-heat capacity, 2) [O2] reduction effect, 3) Enhancement of autoignition due to the presence of H2O, 4) Enhancement or suppression of autoignition due to the presence of trace species such as unburned or partially-oxidized hydrocarbons.
The combustion process in diesel engines deposits soot on the in-cylinder surfaces. Previous works have suggested that these soot deposits eventually break off during cylinder blow-down and the exhaust stroke and contribute significantly to exhaust soot emissions. In order to better understand this potential pathway to soot emissions, the authors recently investigated combusting fuel-jet/wall interactions in a diesel engine. This work, published as a companion paper, showed how soot escaped from the combusting fuel jet and was brought in close proximity to the wall so that it could become a deposit. The current study extends this earlier work with laser-extinction measurements of the soot-deposition rate in the same single-cylinder, heavy-duty DI diesel engine. Measurements were made by passing the beam of a CW-diode laser through a window in the piston bowl rim that was in-line with one of the fuel jets.
Over the past decade, laser diagnostics have improved our understanding of many aspects of diesel combustion. However, interactions between the combusting fuel jet and the piston-bowl wall are not well understood. In heavy-duty diesel engines, with typical fuels, these interactions occur with the combusting vapor-phase region of the jet, which consists of a central region containing soot and other products of rich-premixed combustion, surrounded by a diffusion flame. Since previous work has shown that the OH radical is a good marker of the diffusion flame, planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) imaging of OH was applied to an investigation of the diffusion flame during wall interaction. In addition, simultaneous OH PLIF and planar laser-induced incandescence (PLII) soot imaging was applied to investigate the likelihood for soot deposition on the bowl wall.
Fuel stratification has been investigated as a means of improving the low-load combustion efficiency in an HCCI engine. Several stratification techniques were examined: different GDI injectors, increased swirl, and changes in injection pressure, to determine which parameters are effective for improving the combustion efficiency while maintaining NOx emissions below U.S. 2010 limits. Performance and emission measurements were obtained in an all-metal engine. Corresponding fuel distribution measurements were made with fuel PLIF imaging in a matching optically accessible engine. The fuel used was iso-octane, which is a good surrogate for gasoline. For an idle fueling rate (ϕ = 0.12), combustion efficiency was improved substantially, from 64% to 89% at the NOx limit, using delayed fuel injection with a hollow-cone injector at an injection pressure of 120 bar.
To better understand the factors affecting soot formation in diesel engines, in-cylinder soot and diffusion flame lift-off were measured in a heavy-duty, direct-injection diesel engine. Measurements were obtained at two operating conditions using two commercial diesel fuels and a range of oxygenated paraffinic fuel blends. A line-of-sight laser extinction diagnostic was improved and employed to measure the relative soot concentration within the jet (“jet-soot”) and the rates of soot-wall deposition on the piston bowl-rim. An OH chemiluminescence imaging technique was developed to determine the location of the diffusion flame and to measure the lift-off lengths of the diffusion flame to estimate the amount of oxygen entrainment in the diesel jets. Both the jet-soot and the rate of soot-wall deposition were found to decrease with increasing fuel oxygen-to-carbon ratio (O/C) over a wide range of O/C.
Two fundamental aspects of HCCI engine combustion have been investigated using a single-zone model with time-varying compression and the full chemical-kinetic mechanisms for iso-octane, a representative liquid-phase fuel. This approach allows effects of the kinetics and thermodynamics to be isolated and evaluated in a well-characterized manner, providing an understanding of the selected fundamental processes. The computations were made using the CHEMKIN-III kinetic-rate code for an 1800 rpm operating condition. The study consists of two parts. First, low-load HCCI operation was investigated to determine the role of bulk-gas reactions as a source for HC and CO emissions. The computations show that as fueling is reduced to equivalence ratios of 0.15 and lower (very light load and idle), the bulk-gas reactions do not go to completion, leading to inefficient combustion and high emissions of HC and CO.
Chemiluminescence imaging has been applied to investigate the naturally occurring charge stratification in an HCCI engine. This stratification slows the pressure-rise rate (PRR) during combustion, making it critical to the high-load operating limit of these engines. Experiments were conducted in a single-cylinder HCCI engine modified with windows in the combustion chamber for optical access. Using this engine, chemiluminescence images were obtained from three different view angles. These included both single-shot images with intensified CCD cameras and high-speed (20kHz) sequences with an intensified CMOS video camera. The engine was fueled with iso-octane, which has been shown to be a reasonable surrogate for gasoline and exhibits only single-stage ignition at these naturally aspirated conditions. The chemiluminescence images show that the HCCI combustion is not homogeneous but has a strong turbulent structure even when the fuel and air are fully premixed prior to intake.
Gasoline consists of many different classes of hydrocarbons, such as paraffins, olefins, aromatics, and cycloalkanes. In this study, a surrogate gasoline reaction mechanism is developed, and it has one representative fuel constituent from each of these classes. These selected constituents are iso-octane, n-heptane, 1-pentene, toluene, and methyl-cyclohexane. The mechanism was developed in a step-wise fashion, adding submechanisms to treat each fuel component. Reactions important for low temperature oxidation (<1000K) and cross-reactions among different fuels are incorporated into the mechanism. The mechanism consists of 1328 species and 5835 reactions. A single-zone engine model is used to evaluate how well the mechanism captures autoignition behavior for conditions corresponding to homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine operation.
We have conducted a detailed numerical analysis of HCCI engine operation at low loads to investigate the sources of HC and CO emissions and the associated combustion inefficiencies. Engine performance and emissions are evaluated as fueling is reduced from typical HCCI conditions, with an equivalence ratio ϕ = 0.26 to very low loads (ϕ = 0.04). Calculations are conducted using a segregated multi-zone methodology and a detailed chemical kinetic mechanism for iso-octane with 859 chemical species. The computational results agree very well with recent experimental results. Pressure traces, heat release rates, burn duration, combustion efficiency and emissions of hydrocarbon, oxygenated hydrocarbon, and carbon monoxide are generally well predicted for the whole range of equivalence ratios. The computational model also shows where the pollutants originate within the combustion chamber, thereby explaining the changes in the HC and CO emissions as a function of equivalence ratio.
Combustion phasing is one important issue that must be addressed for HCCI operation. The intake temperature can be adjusted to achieve ignition at the desired crank angle. However, heat-transfer during induction will make the effective intake temperature different from the temperature measured in the runner. Also, depending on the engine speed and port configuration, dynamic flow effects cause various degrees of charge heating. Additionally, residuals from the previous cycle can have significant influence on the charge temperature at the beginning of the compression stroke. Finally, direct injection of fuel will influence the charge temperature since heat is needed for vaporization. This study investigates these effects in a systematic manner with a combination of experiment and cycle simulation using WAVE from Ricardo.
This work investigates the potential of in-cylinder thermal stratification for reducing the pressure-rise rate in HCCI engines, and the coupling between thermal stratification and combustion-phasing retard. A combination of computational and experimental results is employed. The computations were conducted using both a custom multi-zone version and the standard single-zone version of the Senkin application of the CHEMKIN III kinetics-rate code, and kinetic mechanisms for iso-octane. This study shows that the potential for extending the high-load operating limit by adjusting the thermal stratification is very large. With appropriate stratification, even a stoichiometric charge can be combusted with low pressure-rise rates, giving an output of 16 bar IMEPg for naturally aspirated operation. For more typical HCCI fueling rates (ϕ = 0.38 - 0.45), the optimal charge-temperature distribution is found to depend on both the amount of fuel and the combustion phasing.
Multi-zone CFD simulations with detailed kinetics were used to model iso-octane HCCI experiments performed on a single-cylinder research engine. The modeling goals were to validate the method (multi-zone combustion modeling) and the reaction mechanism (LLNL 857 species iso-octane) by comparing model results to detailed exhaust speciation data, which was obtained with gas chromatography. The model is compared to experiments run at 1200 RPM and 1.35 bar boost pressure over an equivalence ratio range from 0.08 to 0.28. Fuel was introduced far upstream to ensure fuel and air homogeneity prior to entering the 13.8:1 compression ratio, shallow-bowl combustion chamber of this 4-stroke engine. The CFD grid incorporated a very detailed representation of the crevices, including the top-land ring crevice and head-gasket crevice. The ring crevice is resolved all the way into the ring pocket volume. The detailed grid was required to capture regions where emission species are formed and retained.
Now more than ever, the increasing strictness of environmental regulation and the stronger need of higher efficiency standards are pushing for the development of cleaner and energy-efficient powertrains. HCCI engines are suitable candidates to achieve these objectives. Understanding the autoignition process and how it is affected by operating conditions is central to the development of these engines. In addition to experiments, detailed kinetic modeling represents a very effective tool for gaining deeper insight into the fundamentals of HCCI autoignition and combustion. Indeed, modeling activities are today widely used in engine design, allowing a significant reduction in prototype development costs and providing a valuable support to the improvement of control strategies.
An investigation has been conducted to determine the relative magnitude of the various factors that cause changes in combustion phasing (or required intake temperature) with changes in fueling rate in HCCI engines. These factors include: fuel autoignition chemistry and thermodynamic properties (referred to as fuel chemistry), combustion duration, wall temperatures, residuals, and heat/cooling during induction. Based on the insight gained from these results, the potential of fuel stratification to control combustion phasing was also investigated. The experiments were conducted in a single-cylinder HCCI engine at 1200 rpm using a GDI-type fuel injector. Engine operation was altered in a series of steps to suppress each of the factors affecting combustion phasing with changes in fueling rate, leaving only the effect of fuel chemistry.
Thermal stratification has the potential to reduce pressure-rise rates and allow increased power output for HCCI engines. This paper systematically examines how the amount of thermal stratification of the core of the charge has to be adjusted to avoid excessive knock as the engine speed and fueling rate are increased. This is accomplished by a combination of multi-zone chemical-kinetics modeling and engine experiments, using iso-octane as the fuel. The experiments show that, for a low-residual engine configuration, the pressure traces are self-similar during changes to the engine speed when CA50 is maintained by adjusting the intake temperature. Consequently, the absolute pressure-rise rate measured as bar/ms increases proportionally with the engine speed. As a result, the knocking (ringing) intensity increases drastically with engine speed, unless counteracted by some means.
This work explores the potential of partial fuel stratification to smooth HCCI heat-release rates at high load. A combination of engine experiments and multi-zone chemical-kinetics modeling was used for this. The term “partial” is introduced to emphasize that care is taken to supply fuel to all parts of the in-cylinder charge, which is essential for reaching high power output. It was found that partial fuel stratification offers good potential to achieve a staged combustion event with reduced pressure-rise rates. Therefore, partial fuel stratification has the potential to increase the high-load limits for HCCI/SCCI operation. However, for the technique to be effective the crank-angle phasing of the “hot” ignition has to be sensitive to the local ϕ. Sufficient sensitivity was observed only for fuel blends that exhibit low-temperature heat release (like diesel fuel).
This study presents estimates for measurement uncertainties for a Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI)/Low-Temperature Gasoline Combustion (LTGC) engine testing facility. A previously presented framework for quantifying those uncertainties developed uncertainty estimates based on the transducers manufacturers’ published tolerances. The present work utilizes the framework with improved uncertainty estimates in order to more accurately represent the actual uncertainties of the data acquired in the HCCI/LTGC laboratory, which ultimately results in a reduction in the uncertainty from 30 to less than 1 kPa during the intake and exhaust strokes. Details of laboratory calibration techniques and commissioning runs are used to constrain the sensitivities of the transducers relative to manufacturer supplied values.
Low-temperature gasoline combustion (LTGC) engines can deliver high efficiencies, with ultra-low emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). However, controlling the combustion timing and maintaining robust operation remains a challenge for LTGC engines. One promising technique to overcoming these challenges is spark assist (SA). In this work, well-controlled, fully premixed experiments are performed in a single-cylinder LTGC research engine at 1200 rpm using a cylinder head modified to accommodate a spark plug. Compression ratios (CR) of 16:1 and 14:1 were used during the experiments. Two different fuels were also tested, with properties representative of premium- and regular-grade market gasolines. SA was found to work well for both CRs and fuels. The equivalence ratio (ϕ) limits and the effect of intake-pressure boost on the ability of SA to compensate for a reduced Tin were studied. For the conditions studied, ϕ=0.42 was found to be most effective for SA.