EmiSense Technologies, LLC (www.emisense.com) is commercializing its electronic particulate matter (PM) sensor that is based on technology developed at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). To demonstrate the capability of this sensor for real-time PM measurements and on board diagnostics (OBD) for failure detection of diesel particle filters (DPF), independent measurements were performed to characterize the engine PM emissions and to compare with the PM sensor response. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling was performed to characterize the hydrodynamics of the sensor's housing and to develop an improved PM sensor housing with reproducible hydrodynamics and an internal baffle to minimize orientation effects. PM sensors with the improved housing were evaluated in the truck exhaust of a heavy duty (HD) diesel engine tested on-road and on a chassis dynamometer at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) using their Mobile Emissions Laboratory (MEL).
The Rotating Liner Engine (RLE) is an engine design concept where the cylinder liner rotates in order to reduce piston assembly friction and liner/ring wear. The reduction is achieved by the elimination of the mixed and boundary lubrication regimes that occur near TDC. Prior engines for aircraft developed during WW2 with partly rotating liners (Sleeve Valve Engines or SVE) have exhibited reduction of bore wear by factor of 10 for high BMEP operation, which supports the elimination of mixed lubrication near the TDC area via liner rotation. Our prior research on rotating liner engines experimentally proved that the boundary/mixed components near TDC are indeed eliminated, and a high friction reduction was quantified compared to a baseline engine. The added friction required to rotate the liner is hydrodynamic via a modest sliding speed, and is thus much smaller than the mixed and boundary friction that is eliminated.
Combustion chamber pressure measurement in engines via a passage is an old technique that is still widely used in engine research. This paper presents improved passage designs for an off-set electrode spark plug designed to accept a pressure transducer. The spark plug studied was the Champion model 304-063A. Two acoustic models were developed to compute the resonance characteristics. The new designs have a resonance frequency in a range higher than the fundamental frequency expected from knock so that the signal can be lowpass filtered to remove the resonance and not interfere with pressure signal components associated with combustion phenomena. Engine experiments verified the spark plug resonance behavior. For the baseline engine operating condition approximately 50 of 100 cycles had visible passage resonance in the measured pressure traces, at an average frequency of 8.03 kHz.
The basic process of spark ignition in engines has changed little over the more than 100 years since its first application. The rapid evolution of several advanced engine concepts and the refinement of existing engine designs, especially applications of power boost technology, have led to a renewed interest in advanced spark ignition concepts. The increasingly large rates of in-cylinder dilution via EGR and ultra-lean operation, combined with increases in boost pressures are placing new demands on spark ignition systems. The challenge is to achieve strong and consistent ignition of the in-cylinder mixture in every cycle, to meet performance and emissions goals while maintaining or improving the durability of ignitor. The application of railplug ignition to some of these engine systems is seen as a potential alternative to conventional spark ignition systems that may lead to improved ignition performance.
This paper presents the latest developments in the design and performance of an electronic particulate matter (PM) sensor developed at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and suitable, with further development, for applications in active engine control of PM emissions. The sensor detects the carbonaceous mass component of PM in the exhaust and has a time-resolution less than 20 (ms), allowing PM levels to be quantified for engine transients. Sample measurements made with the sensor in the exhaust of a single-cylinder light duty diesel engine are presented for both steady-state and transient operations: a steady-state correlation with gravimetric filter measurements is presented, and the sensor response to rapid increases in PM emission during engine transients is shown for several different tip-in (momentary increases in fuel delivery) conditions.
An electronic particulate matter sensor (EPMS) developed at the University of Texas was used to characterize exhaust gases from a single-cylinder diesel engine and a light-duty diesel vehicle. Measurements were made during transient tip-in events with multiple sensor configurations in the single-cylinder engine. The sensor was operated in two modes: one with the electric field energized, and the other with no electric field present. In each mode, different characteristic signals were produced in response to a tip-in event, highlighting the two primary mechanisms of sensor operation. The sensor responded to both the natural charge of the particulate matter (PM) emitted from the engine, and was also found to create a signal by charging neutral particles. The characteristics of the two mechanisms of operation are discussed as well as their implications on the placement and operation of the sensor.
Trucks operating in inter-modal (drayage) operation in and around port and rail terminals, are responsible for a large proportion of the emissions of NOX, which are problematic for the air quality of the Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth metro areas. A standard test cycle, called the Texas Dray Truck Cycle, was developed to represent the operation of heavy-duty diesel trucks in dray operations. The test cycle reflects the substantial time spent at idle (~45%) and the high intensity of the on-road portions. This test cycle was then used in the SAE J1321 test protocol to evaluate the effect on fuel consumption and NOX emissions of retrofitting dray trucks with light-weight, low-rolling resistance wide-single tires. In on-track testing, a reduction in fuel consumption of 8.7% was seen, and NOX emissions were reduced by 3.8% with the wide single tires compared to the conventional tires.
The Texas Project was a multi-year study of aftermarket conversions of a variety of light-duty vehicles to CNG or LPG. Emissions and fuel economy when using these fuels are compared to the results for the same vehicles operating on certification gasoline and Federal Phase 1 RFG. Since 1993, 1,040 tests were conducted on 10 models, totally 86 light-duty vehicles. The potential for each vehicle model/kit combination to attain LEV certification was assessed. Also, comparisons of emissions and fuel economy between converted vehicles when operating on gasoline and nominally identical un-converted gasoline control vehicles were analyzed. Additional evaluations were performed for a subfleet that was subjected to exhaust speciations for operation over the Federal Test Procedure cycle and also for off-cycle tests.
The Texas Project was a multi-year study of aftermarket conversions of a variety of light-duty vehicles to CNG or LPG. One aspect of this project was to examine the factors that influence the economics of fleet conversions to these alternative fuels. The present analysis did not include longer-term effects (such as possible increases in exhaust system life or increases in tire wear). Additionally, assumptions were required to estimate the costs of repairs to the alternative fuel system and engine. Other factors considered include conversion cost, fuel prices, annual alternative fuel tax (as applied for the state of Texas), annual miles accumulated, and the percent miles traveled while using the alternative fuel for dual fuel conversions.
The On-Board Distillation System (OBDS) extracts, from gasoline, a highly volatile crank fuel that enables simultaneous reduction of start-up fuel enrichment and significant ignition timing retard during cold-starting. In a previous paper we reported reductions in catalyst light-off time of >50% and THC emissions reductions >50% over Phase I of the FTP drive cycle. The research presented herein is a further development of the OBDS concept. For this work, OBDS was improved to yield higher-quality start-up fuel. The PCM calibration was changed as well, in order to improve the response to intake manifold pressure transients. The test vehicle was tested over the 3-phase FTP, with exhaust gases speciated to determine NMOG and exhaust toxics emissions. Also, the effectiveness of OBDS at generating a suitable starting fuel from a high driveability index test gasoline was evaluated.
Time-resolved current and voltage measurements for an inductive automotive spark system were made. Also presented are measurements of the total energy delivered to the spark gap. The measurements were made in air for a range of pressures from 1-18 atm, at ambient temperatures. The measured voltage and current characteristics were found to be a function of many ignition parameters; some of these include: spark gap distance, internal resistance of the spark plug and high tension wire, and pressure. The voltages presented were measured either at the top of the spark plug or at the spark gap. The measurements were made at different time resolutions to more accurately resolve the voltage and current behavior throughout the discharge process. This was necessary because the breakdown event occurs on a time scale much shorter than the arc and glow phases.
As natural gas engines are designed to operate leaner and with increased boost pressure, durability of the spark plugs becomes problematic. Among the various new ignition devices that have been considered to solve some of the problems facing spark plugs, railplugs appear to hold clear advantages in some areas. There are two types of railplugs: coaxial rail and parallel rail. This paper reports the results of an experimental study of various parameters that affect the performance of parallel railplugs. Their performance was quantified by the distance that the arc traveled along the rails from the initiation point. Travel along the rails is thought to be an important performance metric because rail-travel limits excessive local wear and produces a distributed ignition source which can potentially reduce mixture inhomogeneity induced ignition problems.
It is a very challenging problem to reliably ignite extremely lean mixtures, especially for the low speed, high load conditions of large-bore natural gas engines. If these engines are to be use for the distributed power generation market, it will require operation with higher boost pressures and even leaner mixtures. Both place greater demands on the ignition system. The railplug is a very promising ignition system for lean burn natural gas engines with its high-energy deposition and high velocity plasma arc. It requires care to properly design railplugs for this new application, however. For these engines, in-cylinder pressure and mixture temperature are very high at the time of ignition due to the high boost pressure. Hot spots may exist on the electrodes of the ignitor, causing pre-ignition problems. A heat transfer model is proposed in this paper to aid the railplug design. The electrode temperature was measured in an operating natural gas engine.
Ignition of extremely lean or dilute mixtures is a very challenging problem. Therefore, it is essential for the engine development engineer to understand the fundamentals and limitations of existing ignition systems. This paper presents a new railplug ignition concept, a high-energy ignition system, which can enhance ignition of very lean mixtures by means of its high-energy deposition and high velocity jet of the plasma. This paper presents initial results of tests using an inductive ignition system, a capacitor discharge ignition system, and a railplug high-energy ignition system. Discharge characteristics, such as time-resolved voltage, current, and luminous emission were measured. Spark plug and railplug ignition are compared for their effects on combustion stability of a natural gas engine. The results show that railplugs have a very strong arc-phase that can ensure the ignition of very dilute mixtures.
In order to determine the factors that affect fuel economy quantitatively, the power flows through the major powertrain components were measured during operation over transient cycles. The fuel consumption rate and torque and speed of the engine output and axle shafts were measured to assess the power flows in a vehicle with a CVT. The measured power flows were converted to energy loss for each component to get the efficiency. Tests were done at Phase 1 and Phase 3 of the FTP and for two different CVT shift modes. The measured energy distributions were compared with those from the ADVISOR simulation and to results from the PNGV study. For both the Hot 505 and the Cold 505, and for both shift modes, the major powertrain loss occurs in the engine, including or excluding standby losses. However, the efficiency of the drivetrain/transmission is important because it influences the efficiency of the engine.
A railplug is a new type of ignitor for SI engines. A model for optimizing energy deposition in a railplug ignition system is developed. The model is experimentally validated using a low voltage railplug ignition circuit. The effect of various ignition circuit parameters on the energy deposition and its rate are discussed. Durability of railplugs is an important factor in railplug circuit design. As for all spark ignitors, durability of a railplug decreases as energy deposition is increased. Therefore recommendations are made to minimize wear and increase durability, while depositing sufficient energy to attain ignition, using a railplug.
We have examined the influence of piston wetting on the size distribution and mass of particulate matter (PM) emissions in a SI engine using several different fuels. Piston wetting was isolated as a source of PM emissions by injecting known amounts of liquid fuel onto the piston top using an injector probe. The engine was run predominantly on propane with approximately 10% of the fuel injected as liquid onto the piston. The liquid fuels were chosen to examine the effects of fuel volatility and molecular structure on the PM emissions. A nephelometer was used to characterize the PM emissions. Mass measurements from the nephelometer were compared with gravimetric filter measurements, and particulate size measurements were compared with scanning electron microscope (SEM) photos of particulates captured on filters. The engine was run at 1500 rpm at the Ford world-wide mapping point with an overall equivalence ratio of 0.9.
A fiber optic instrumented spark plug was used to make time-resolved measurements of the fuel vapor concentration history near the spark gap in a four-valve DISI engine. Four different bulk flow were investigated. Several early and late injection timings were examined. The fuel concentration at the spark gap was correlated with IMEP. Emissions of CO, HCs, and NOx were related to the type of bulk flow. For both early and late injection the CoVs of fuel concentration were generally lowest for the weakest bulk flow which resulted in a stable stratification. Strong bulk flows convected the inhomogeneities through the measurement area near the spark plug resulting in both large intracycle and cycle-to-cycle variation in equivalence ratio at the time of ignition.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began using an ultra-low-sulfur, low aromatic, high cetane number diesel fuel (TxLED, Texas Low Emission Diesel) in June 2003. They initiated a simultaneous study of the effectiveness to reduce emissions and influence fuel economy of this fuel in comparison to 2D on-road diesel fuel used in both their on-road and off-road equipment. The study incorporated analyses for the fleet operated by the Association of General Contractors (AGC) in the Houston area. Some members of AGC use 2D off-road diesel in their equipment. One off-road engine, two single-axle dump trucks, and two tandem-axle dump trucks were tested. The equipment tested included newer electronically-controlled diesels. The off-road engine was tested over the TxDOT Telescoping Boom Excavator Cycle. The dump trucks were tested using the “route” technique over the TxDOT Single-Axle Dump Truck Cycle or the TxDOT Tandem-Axle Dump Truck Cycle.