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Technical Paper

Bridging the Gap between HCCI and SI: Spark-Assisted Compression Ignition

Homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) has received much attention in recent years due to its ability to reduce both fuel consumption and NO emissions compared to normal spark-ignited (SI) combustion. However, due to the limited operating range of HCCI, production feasible engines will need to employ a combination of combustion strategies, such as stoichiometric SI combustion at high loads and leaner burn spark-assisted compression ignition (SACI) and HCCI at intermediate and low loads. The goal of this study was to extend the high load limit of HCCI into the SACI region while maintaining a stoichiometric equivalence ratio. Experiments were conducted on a single-cylinder research engine with fully flexible valve actuation. In-cylinder pressure rise rates and combustion stability were controlled using cooled external EGR, spark assist, and negative valve overlap. Several engine loads within the SACI regime were investigated.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of a Narrow Spray Cone Angle, Advanced Injection Timing Strategy to Achieve Partially Premixed Compression Ignition Combustion in a Diesel Engine

Simultaneous reduction of nitric oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions is possible in a diesel engine by employing a Partially Premixed Compression Ignition (PPCI) strategy. PPCI combustion is attainable with advanced injection timings and heavy exhaust gas recirculation rates. However, over-advanced injection timing can result in the fuel spray missing the combustion bowl, thus dramatically elevating PM emissions. The present study investigates whether the use of narrow spray cone angle injector nozzles can extend the limits of early injection timings, allowing for PPCI combustion realization. It is shown that a low flow rate, 60-degree spray cone angle injector nozzle, along with optimized EGR rate and split injection strategy, can reduce engine-out NOx by 82% and PM by 39%, at the expense of a modest increase (4.5%) in fuel consumption.
Technical Paper

Lean and Rich Premixed Compression Ignition Combustion in a Light-Duty Diesel Engine

Lean Premixed Compression Ignition (PCI) low-temperature combustion promises to simultaneously reduce NOx and PM emissions, while suffering a moderate penalty in fuel consumption. Similarly, opportunities exist to develop rich PCI combustion strategies which can provide the necessary exhaust constituents for aggressive regeneration of a Lean NOx Trap (LNT). The current work highlights the development of lean and rich PCI combustion strategies. It is shown that the lean PCI combustion strategy successfully operates with low NOx and PM, at the expense of a 5% increase in fuel consumption over conventional diesel operation. The rich PCI combustion strategy similarly operates with low NOx and PM, and produces enough CO (up to 5% by volume in exhaust) for aggressive regeneration of an LNT.
Technical Paper

Pressure Reactive Piston Technology Investigation and Development for Spark Ignition Engines

Variable Compression Ratio (VCR) technology has long been recognized as a method of improving Spark Ignition (SI) engine fuel economy. The Pressure Reactive Piston (PRP) assembly features a two-piece piston, with a piston crown and separate piston skirt which enclose a spring set between them. The unique feature is that the upper piston reacts to the cylinder pressure, accommodating rapid engine load changes passively. This mechanism effectively limits the peak pressures at high loads without an additional control device, while allowing the engine to operate at high compression ratio during low load conditions. Dynamometer engine testing showed that Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) improvement of the PRP over the conventional piston ranged from 8 to 18 % up to 70% load. Knock free full load operation was also achieved. The PRP equipped engine combustion is characterized by reverse motion of the piston crown near top dead center and higher thermal efficiency.
Technical Paper

Multi-Dimensional Modeling of Natural Gas Ignition Under Compression Ignition Conditions Using Detailed Chemistry

A detailed chemical kinetic mechanism, consisting of 22 species and 104 elementary reactions, has been used in conjunction with the multi-dimensional reactive flow code KIVA-3 to study autoignition of natural gas injected under compression ignition conditions. Calculations for three different blends of natural gas are performed on a three-dimensional computational grid by modeling both the injection and ignition processes. Ignition delay predictions at pressures and temperatures typical of top-dead-center conditions in compression ignition engines compare well with the measurements of Naber et al. [1] in a combustion bomb. Two different criteria, based on pressure rise and mass of fuel burned, are used to detect the onset of ignition. Parametric studies are conducted to show the effect of additives like ethane and hydrogen peroxide in increasing the fuel consumption rate.
Technical Paper

The Potential of the Variable Stroke Spark-Ignition Engine

A comprehensive quasi-dimensional computer simulation of the spark-ignition (SI) engine was used to explore part-load, fuel economy benefits of the Variable Stroke Engine (VSE) compared to the conventional throttled engine. First it was shown that varying stroke can replace conventional throttling to control engine load, without changing the engine characteristics. Subsequently, the effects of varying stroke on turbulence, burn rate, heat transfer, and pumping and friction losses were revealed. Finally these relationships were used to explain the behavior of the VSE as stroke is reduced. Under part load operation, it was shown that the VSE concept can improve brake specific fuel consumption by 18% to 21% for speeds ranging from 1500 to 3000 rpm. Further, at part load, NOx was reduced by up to 33%. Overall, this study provides insight into changes in processes within and outside the combustion chamber that cause the benefits and limitations of the VSE concept.
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

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

Fuel Economy and Power Benefits of Cetane-Improved Fuels in Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines

A program to explore the effects of natural and additive-derived cetane on various aspects of diesel performance and combustion has been carried out. Procedures have been developed to measure diesel engine fuel consumption and power to a high degree of precision. These methods have been used to measure fuel consumption and power in three heavy-duty direct-injection diesel engines. The fuel matrix consisted of three commercial fuels of cetane number (CN) of 40-42, the same fuels raised to CN 48-50 with a cetane improver additive, and three commercial fuels of base CN 47-50. The engines came from three different U.S. manufacturers and were of three different model years and emissions configurations. Both fuel economy and power were found to be significantly higher for the cetane-improved fuels than for the naturally high cetane fuels. These performance advantages derive mainly from the higher volumetric heat content inherent to the cetane-improved fuels.
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.