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Technical Paper

Improvement on Energy Efficiency of the Spark Ignition System

Future clean combustion engines tend to increase the cylinder charge to achieve better fuel economy and lower exhaust emissions. The increase of the cylinder charge is often associated with either excessive air admission or exhaust gas recirculation, which leads to unfavorable ignition conditions at the ignition point. Advanced ignition methods and systems have progressed rapidly in recent years in order to suffice the current and future engine development, and a simple increase of energy of the inductive ignition system does not often provide the desired results from a cost-benefit point of view. Proper design of the ignition system circuit is required to achieve certain spark performances.
Technical Paper

Boosted Current Spark Strategy for Lean Burn Spark Ignition Engines

Spark ignition systems with the capability of providing spark event with either higher current level or longer discharge duration has been developed in recent years to help IC engines towards clean combustion with higher efficiency under lean/diluted intake charge. In this research, a boosted current spark strategy was proposed to investigate the effect of spark discharge current level and discharge duration on the combustion process. Firstly, the discharge characteristics of a boosted current spark system were tested with a traditional spark plug under crossflow conditions, and results showed that the spark channel was more stable, and was stretched much longer when the discharge current was boosted. Then the boosted current strategy was used in a spark ignition engine operating under lean conditions. Boosted current was added to the spark channel with different timing, duration, and current levels.
Journal Article

Electrical Waveform Measurement of Spark Energy and its Effect on Lean Burn SI Engine Combustion

The conventional transistor coil ignition system with coil-out energy up to 100 mJ might not be sufficient to establish a self-sustained flame kernel under lean combustion with strong in-cylinder flow motion. Further increase of the discharge current will decrease the voltage across the spark gap, which will affect the calculation of the energy delivered to the spark gap. In this paper, the relationship between the discharge current and gap voltage is investigated, and it is discovered that the spark energy doesn,t increase monotonously with the increase of the discharge current. However, engine test results still indicate a positive impact of discharge current amplitude on the engine performance.
Technical Paper

Energy Enhanced Adaptive Spark Ignition for Lean Combustion Initiation

For internal combustion engine systems, lean and diluted combustion is an important technology applied for fuel efficiency improvement. Because of the thermodynamic boundary conditions and the presence of in-cylinder flow, the development of a well-sustained flame kernel for lean combustion is a challenging task. Reliable spark discharge with the addition of enhanced delivered energy is thus needed at certain time durations to achieve successful combustion initiation of the lean air-fuel mixture. For a conventional transistor coil ignition system, only limited amount of energy is stored in the ignition coil. Therefore, both the energy of the spark discharge and the duration of the spark discharge are bounded. To break through the energy limit of the conventional transistor coil ignition system, in this work, an adaptive spark ignition system is introduced. The system has the ability to reconstruct the conductive ion channels whenever it is interrupted during the spark discharge.