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Technical Paper

A Prototype Thin-Film Thermocouple for Transient Heat Transfer Measurements in Ceramic-Coated Combustion Chambers

A prototype chromel-alumel overlapping thin-film thermocouple (TFTC) has been developed for transient heat transfer measurements in ceramic-coated combustion chambers. The TFTC has been evaluated using various metallurgical techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray detection, and Auger electron spectroscopy. The sensor was calibrated against a standard thermocouple in ice, boiling water, and a furnace at 1000°C. The microstructural and chemical analysis of the thin-films showed the alumel film composition was very similar to the bulk material, while the chromel film varied slightly. An initial set of ceramic plug surface temperatures was taken while motoring and firing the engine at 1900 rpm to verify thermocouple operation. The data shows a 613 K mean temperature and a 55 K swing for the ceramic surface compared with a 493 K mean temperature and a 20 K swing for the metal surface at the same location.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Alternative Thermocouple Designs for Transient Heat Transfer Measurements in Metal and Ceramic Engines

Finite element models of various fast-response thermocouple designs have been developed. Due to the small differences in thermal properties between thermoelements and metal engine components, standard co-axial thermocouples can measure transient temperatures of metal components within an accuracy of 98%. However, these relatively small errors in total temperature measurement translate into as high as 30% errors in indicated peak-to-peak-temperature swings for iron surfaces. The transient swing errors result in up to 30% errors in peak heat flux rates to iron surfaces. These peak heat flux errors can be substantially larger if coaxial thermocouples are used for heat flux measurements in aluminum or ceramic surfaces. Increasing the thin film thickness is a compromise solution to reduce the discrepancy in peak heat flux measured with coaxial designs in metal engines. An alternative overlapping thin film thermocouple design has also been evaluated.
Technical Paper

Transient Heat Conduction in Low-Heat-Rejection Engine Combustion Chambers

Predicting the effects of transient heat conduction in low-heat-rejection engine components have been analyzed by applying instantaneous boundary conditions throughout a diesel engine thermodynamic cycle. This paper describes the advantages and disadvantages of one-dimensional finite difference and two-dimensional finite element methods by analyzing simple and complicated geometries like diesel bowl-in pistons. Also the performance characteristics of plasma sprayed zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, and a monolithic reaction bonded silicon nitride ceramic materials are discussed and compared. Finite element studies have indicated that the steep temperature gradients associated with cyclic temperature swings in excess of 400 K may contribute to the failure of ceramic coatings near the corner joining the surface of the piston and the surface of the bowl for bowl-in pistons.
Technical Paper

The Effects of Ceramic Coatings on Diesel Engine Performance and Exhaust Emissions

An experimental investigation of the effects of ceramic coatings on diesel engine performance and exhaust emissions was conducted. Tests were carried out over a range of engine speeds at full load for a standard metal piston and two pistons insulated with 0.5 mm and 1.0 mm thick ceramic coatings. The thinner (0.5 mm) ceramic coating resulted in improved performance over the baseline engine, with the gains being especially pronounced with decreasing engine speed. At 1000 rpm, the 0.5 mm ceramic coated piston produced 10% higher thermal efficiency than the metal piston. In contrast, the relatively thicker coating (1 mm), resulted in as much as 6% lower thermal efficiency compared to baseline. On the other hand, the insulated engines consistently presented an attractive picture in terms of their emissions characteristics. Due to the more complete combustion in the insulated configurations, exhaust CO levels were between 30% and 60% lower than baseline levels.
Technical Paper

Thin Thermal Barrier Coatings for Engines

Contrary to the thick thermal barrier coating approach used in adiabatic diesel engines, the authors have investigated the merits of thin coatings. Transient heat transfer analysis indicates that the temperature swings experienced at combustion chamber surfaces depend primarily on material thermophysical properties, i.e., conductivity, density, and specific heat. Thus, cyclic temperature swings should be alike whether thick or thin (less than 0.25 mm) coatings are applied, Furthermore, thin coatings would lead to lower mean component temperatures and would be easier to apply than thick coatings. The thinly-coated engine concept offers several advantages including improved volumetric efficiency, lower cylinder liner wall temperatures, improved piston-liner tribological behavior, and improved erosion-corrosion resistance and thus greater component durability.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Thin Ceramic Coatings on Spark-Ignition Engine Performance

An experimental study of the effects of thin ceramic thermal barrier coatings on the performance of a spark-ignited gasoline engine was conducted. A modified 2.5 liter GM engine with ceramic-coated pistons, liners, head, valves and ports was used. Experimental results obtained from the ceramic engine were compared with baseline metal engine data. It was shown that at low-speed part-load conditions encountered in typical driving cycles the ceramic engine could achieve up to 18% higher brake power and up to 10% lower specific fuel consumption. At wide open throttle conditions, the two engines exhibited similar characteristics, except at high speeds where the metal engine showed better performance at the expense of inferior fuel economy. The ceramic coating did not produce any observable knock in the engine and showed no significant wear at the conclusion of the testing phase.