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Technical Paper

Railplug Ignition Operating Characteristics and Performance:A Review

2007-07-23
2007-01-1832
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.
Technical Paper

Further Development of an On-Board Distillation System for Generating a Highly Volatile Cold-Start Fuel

2005-04-11
2005-01-0233
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.
Technical Paper

A New Ignitior for Large-Bore Natural Gas Engines - Railplug Design Improvement and Optimization

2005-04-11
2005-01-0249
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.
Technical Paper

From Spark Plugs to Railplugs – The Characteristics of a New Ignition System

2004-10-25
2004-01-2978
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.
Technical Paper

Impact of Railplug Circuit Parameters on Energy Deposition and Durability

2003-10-27
2003-01-3135
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.
Technical Paper

Engine Friction Reduction Through Liner Rotation

2005-04-11
2005-01-1652
Cylinder liner rotation (Rotating Liner Engine, RLE) is a new concept for reducing piston assembly friction in the internal combustion engine. The purpose of the RLE is to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of boundary and mixed lubrication friction in the piston assembly (specifically, the rings and skirt). This paper reports the results of experiments to quantify the potential of the RLE. A 2.3 L GM Quad 4 SI engine was converted to single cylinder operation and modified for cylinder liner rotation. To allow examination of the effects of liner rotational speed, the rotating liner is driven by an electric motor. A torque cell in the motor output shaft is used to measure the torque required to rotate the liner. The hot motoring method was used to compare the friction loss between the baseline engine and the rotating liner engine. Additionally, hot motoring tear-down tests were used to measure the contribution of each engine component to the total friction torque.
Technical Paper

Mixture Preparation During Cranking in a Port-Injected 4-Valve SI Engine

1997-10-01
972982
This paper presents the results of an experimental investigation of the fuel-air mixing process in a port-fuel-injected, 4-valve, spark-ignited engine that was motored to simulate cold cranking and start-up conditions. An infrared fiber-optic instrumented spark plug probe was used to measure the local, crank angle resolved, fuel concentration in the vicinity of the spark gap of a single-cylinder research engine with a production head and fuel injector. The crank-angle resolved fuel concentrations were compared for various injection timings including open-intake-valve (OIV) and closed-intake-valve (CIV) injection, using federal certification gasoline. In addition, the effects of speed, intake manifold pressure, and injected fuel mass were examined.
Technical Paper

Fuel-Spray/Charge-Motion Interaction within the Cylinder of a Direct-Injected, 4-Valve, SI Engine

1998-02-23
980155
The mixture preparation process was investigated in a direct-injected, 4-valve, SI engine under motored conditions. The interaction between the high-pressure fuel jet and the intake air-flow was observed. Laser-sheet droplet imaging was used to visualize the in-cylinder droplet distributions, and a single-component LDV system was used to measure in-cylinder velocities. The fuel spray was visualized with the engine motored at 1500 and 750 rpm, and with the engine stopped. It was observed that the shape of the fuel spray was distorted by the in-cylinder air motion generated by the intake air flow, and that this effect became more pronounced with increasing engine speed. Velocity measurements were made at five locations on the symmetry plane of the cylinder, with the engine motored at 750 rpm. Comparison of these measurements with, and without, injection revealed that the in-cylinder charge motion was significantly altered by the injection event.
Technical Paper

In-Cylinder Fuel Transport During the First Cranking Cycles in a Port Injected 4-Valve Engine

1997-02-24
970043
Fuel transport was visualized within the cylinder of a port injected four-valve SI engine having a transparent cylinder liner. Measurements were made while motoring at 250 rpm to simulate cranking conditions prior to the first firing cycle, and at 750 rpm to examine the effects of engine speed. A production GM Quad-4 cylinder head was used, and the stock single-jet port fuel injector was used to inject indolene. A digital camera was used to capture back-lighted images of cylinder wall wetting for open and closed intake valve injection. In addition, two-dimensional planar imaging of Mie scattering from the indolene fuel droplets was used to characterize the fuel droplet distribution as a function of crank angle for open and closed intake valve injection. LDV was used to measure the droplet and air velocities near the intake valves during fuel induction. It was found that with open-valve injection a large fraction of the fuel impinged on the cylinder wall opposite the intake valves.
Technical Paper

Effect of Fuel Parameters on Emissions from a Direct Injection Spark Ignition Engine During Constant Speed, Variable Load Tests

2000-06-19
2000-01-1909
A 1998 Toyota Corona passenger car with a direct injection spark ignition (DISI) engine was tested at constant engine speed (2000 rpm) over a range of loads. Engine-out and tailpipe emissions of gas phase species were measured each second. This allowed examination of the engine-out emissions for late and early injection. Seven fuels were used for these tests: five blended fuels and two pure hydrocarbon fuels. These seven fuels can be divided into groups for examination of the effects of volatility, MTBE, and structure (an aromatic versus an i-alkane). Correlations between the fuel properties and their effects on emissions are presented. Use of steady state tests rather than driving cycles to examine fuel effects on emissions eliminates the complications resulting from accelerations, decelerations, and changes of injection timing but care had to be taken to account for the periodic regenerations of the lean NOx trap/catalyst.
Technical Paper

Three-Dimensional Numerical Simulation of Flame Propagation in Spark Ignition Engines

1993-10-01
932713
Multi-dimensional numerical simulation of the combustion process in spark ignition engines were performed using the Coherent Flame Model (CFM) which is based on the flamelet assumption. The CFM uses a balance equation for the flame surface area to simulate flame surface advection, diffusion, production and destruction in a turbulent reacting flow. There are two model constants in CFM, one associated with the modeling of flame surface production and the other with the modeling of flame surface destruction. Previous experimental results on two test engines charged with propane-air mixtures were used to compare with the computations for different engine speeds, loads, equivalence ratios and spark plug locations. Predicted engine cylinder pressure histories agree well with the experimental results for various operating conditions after the model constants were calibrated against a reference operating condition.
Technical Paper

Effects of Engine Speed on Combustion in SI Engines: Comparisons of Predictions of a Fractal Burning Model with Experimental Data

1993-10-01
932714
Predictions of the Fractal Engine Simulation code were compared with SI engine data in a previous paper. These comparisons were extremely good except for the single data set available at a low engine speed. Because of uncertainty regarding whether the lack of agreement for this case resulted from some difficulty with the experimental data or was due to lack of proper speed dependence in the model, additional comparisons are made for a range of speeds from 300-1500 rpm. The fractal burning model is a turbulence driven model (i.e., driven primarily by the turbulence intensity) that divides the combustion process into four sequential phases: 1) kernel formation, 2) early flame growth, 3) fully developed turbulent flame propagation, and 4) end of combustion. The kernel formation process was not included in the previous version of this model, but was found to be required to predict engine speed effects.
Technical Paper

Effects of Railplugs on the Dilution Tolerance of a Spark Ignition Engine

1993-08-01
931800
The results of continuing investigations of a new type of ignitor, the railplugs are reported. Previous studies have shown that railplugs can produce a high velocity jet of plasma. Additionally, railplugs have the potential of assuring ignition under adverse conditions, such as for very dilute mixtures, because the railplug plasma is both hotter and has a larger mass than the plasma generated by a spark plug. In this paper, engine data are presented to demonstrate the improved dilution tolerance obtainable with railplugs. Data acquired using a railplug are compared to results obtained using a conventional spark plug and a spark plug with a wide spark gap, both using an inductive ignition system. The present results affirm earlier, preliminary findings that railplugs can extend the dilution limit and produce faster combustion.
Technical Paper

Investigation of a Novel Aid for Cold Starting of Diesels

1989-02-01
890041
An experimental investigation of the use of an engine coolant exchange system for prewarming diesel engines before cold starting is discussed. This coolant exchange system involves connecting the coolant system of a fully warmed-up and running engine (e.g., a spark ignition engine) to that of the cold diesel to be started using hydraulic hoses with quick connect fittings and an auxiliary pump. The investigation was performed using a 4,3 liter V6 indirect injection diesel engine since this represents a difficult case for cold starting. The starting characteristics using the coolant exchange technique are compared to those using the production glow plug system, which includes a fuel heater and afterglow. It is shown that the coolant exchange system allows this engine to be started down to −26 °C, much colder than the −13°C limit for the production glow plug system.
Technical Paper

Fractal Analysis of Turbulent Premixed Flame Images from SI Engines

1992-10-01
922242
Researchers in the field of turbulent combustion have found fractal geometry to be a useful tool for describing and quantifying the nature of turbulent flames. This paper describes and compares several techniques for the fractal analysis of two dimensional (2-D) turbulent flame images. Four methods of fractal analysis were evaluated: the Area Method, the Box Method, the Caliper Method, and the Area-Caliper Method. These techniques were first applied to a computer-generated fractal image having a known fractal dimension and known cut-offs. It was found that a “window” effect can cause the outer cut-off to be underestimated. The Caliper Method was found to suffer from noise arising from the statistical nature of the analysis. The Area-Caliper Method was found to be superior to the other methods. The techniques were applied to two types of flame images obtained in a spark ignition engine: Mie scattering from particles seeded in the flow and laser induced fluorescence of OH.
Technical Paper

Intake and ECM Submodel Improvements for Dynamic SI Engine Models: Examination of Tip-In/Tip-Out

1991-02-01
910074
Improved submodels for use in a dynamic engine/vehicle model have been developed and the resulting code has been used to analyze the tip-in, tip-out behavior of a computer-controlled port fuel injected SI engine. This code consists of four submodels. The intake simulation submodel is similar to prior intake models, but some refinements have been made to the fuel flow model to more properly simulate a timed port injection system, and it is believed that these refinements may be of general interest. A general purpose engine simulation code has been used as a subroutine for the cycle simulation submodel. A conventional vehicle simulation submodel is also included in the model formulation. Perhaps most importantly, a submodel has been developed that explicitly simulates the response of the on-board computer (ECM) control system.
Technical Paper

A Fractal-Based SI Engine Model: Comparisons of Predictions with Experimental Data

1991-02-01
910079
A quasidimensional engine simulation which uses the concepts of fractal geometry to model the effects of turbulence on flame propagation in a homogeneous charge SI engine has been developed. Heat transfer and blowby/crevice flow submodels are included in this code and the submodels chosen are found to be reasonable. The model predictions of cylinder pressure histories are then compared with experimental data over a range of loads, equivalence ratios, and engine speeds. The model is not adjusted in any manner to yield better agreement with the data, other than by tuning the simple turbulence model used so as to yield agreement with data for the nonreacting flow. However, current information about the flame wrinkling scales in an engine is inadequate. Therefore, predictions are made for three different assumptions about the flame wrinkling scales which span the range of physically possible scales.
Technical Paper

Development of a Computationally Fast Equilibrium-Equivalent 4-Stroke SI Engine Model

1988-02-01
880130
A set of algebraic equations has been developed to replace the iterative thermochemical equilibrium subroutine in zero-dimensional and quasidimensional engine modeling codes. These equations allow calculation of the equilibrium composition given only the equivalence ratio and the fuel characteristics, thereby allowing the composition calculations to be performed external to the iterative main loop. This technique results in a decrease of the required computational time by up to a factor of 13, dependent upon the equivalence ratio and the fuel. The predictions of the equilibrium-equivalent code agree with those of a traditional equilibrium code within 2.5% for the four fuels examined (CH4, C3H8, C2H5OH, and i-C8H18) for compression ratios between 5 and 12:1, intake manifold pressures between 50 and 100 kPa, and equivalence ratios from 0.5 to 1.5. A technique for including constrained equilibrium to account for freezing of CO oxidation during the expansion stroke is also presented.
Technical Paper

Fuel Spray Dynamics and Fuel Vapor Concentration Near the Spark Plug in a Direct-Injected 4-Valve SI Engine

1999-03-01
1999-01-0497
The mixture preparation process was investigated in a direct-injected, 4-valve, SI engine under motored conditions. The engine had a transparent cylinder liner that allowed the fuel spray to be imaged using laser sheet Mie scattering. A fiber optic probe was used to measure the vapor phase fuel concentration history at the spark plug location between the two intake valves. The fuel injector was located on the cylinder axis. Two flow fields were examined; the stock configuration (tumble index 1.4) and a high tumble (tumble index 3.4) case created using shrouded intake valves. The fuel spray was visualized with the engine motored at 750 and 1500 RPM. Start of injection timings of 90°, 180° and 270° after TDC of intake were examined. The imaging showed that the fuel jet is greatly distorted for the high tumble condition, particularly at higher engine speeds. The tumble was large enough to cause significant cylinder wall wetting under the exhaust valves for some conditions.
Technical Paper

The Effect of In-Cylinder Wall Wetting Location on the HC Emissions from SI Engines

1999-03-01
1999-01-0502
The effect of combustion chamber wall-wetting on the emissions of unburned and partially-burned hydrocarbons (HCs) from gasoline-fueled SI engines was investigated experimentally. A spark-plug mounted directional injection probe was developed to study the fate of liquid fuel which impinges on different surfaces of the combustion chamber, and to quantify its contribution to the HC emissions from direct-injected (DI) and port-fuel injected (PFI) engines. With this probe, a controlled amount of liquid fuel was deposited on a given location within the combustion chamber at a desired crank angle while the engine was operated on pre-mixed LPG. Thus, with this technique, the HC emissions due to in-cylinder wall wetting were studied independently of all other HC sources. Results from these tests show that the location where liquid fuel impinges on the combustion chamber has a very important effect on the resulting HC emissions.
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