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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

An On-Board Distillation System to Reduce Cold-Start Hydrocarbon Emissions

2003-10-27
2003-01-3239
An On-Board Distillation System (OBDS) was developed to extract, from gasoline, a highly volatile crank fuel that allows the reduction of startup fuel enrichment and significant spark retard during cold starts and warm-up. This OBDS was installed on a 2001 Lincoln Navigator to explore the emissions reductions possible on a large vehicle with a large-displacement engine. The fuel and spark calibration of the PCM were modified to exploit the benefits of the OBDS startup fuel. Three series of tests were performed: (1) measurement of the OBDS fuel composition and distillation curve per ASTM D86, (2) measurement of real-time cold start (20 °C) tailpipe hydrocarbon emissions for the first 20 seconds of engine operation, and (3) FTP drive cycles at 20 °C with engine-out and tailpipe emissions of gas-phase species measured each second. Baseline tests were performed using stock PCM calibrations and certification gasoline.
Technical Paper

Effects of Load on Emissions and NOx Trap/Catalyst Efficiency for a Direct Injection Spark Ignition Engine

1999-05-03
1999-01-1528
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. Regeneration of the lean NOx trap/catalyst was also examined, as was the efficiency of NOx reduction. NOx stored in the trap/catalyst is released at the leading edge of regenerations, such that the tailpipe NOx is higher than the engine-out NOx for a brief period. The efficiency of NOx reduction was <50% for the lowest loads examined. As the load increased, the efficiency of NOx reduction decreased to near 0% due to excessive catalyst temperatures. Loads sufficiently high to require a rich mixture produce high NOx reduction efficiencies, but in this case the NOx reduction occurs via the three-way catalysts on this vehicle.
Technical Paper

Refinement of a Dedicated E85 1999 Silverado with Emphasis on Cold Start and Cold Drivability

2001-03-05
2001-01-0679
The University of Texas 2000 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge team remains focused on cold start, cold drivability, fuel economy, and emissions reduction for our 2000 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge entry. We used the stock PCM for all control functions except control of an innovative cold-start system our team designed. The primary modifications for improved emissions control involved ceramic coating of the exhaust manifolds, use of close-coupled ethanol-specific catalysts, use of a moddified version of the California Emissions Calibrated PCM, and our cold-start system that eliminates the need to overfuel the engine at the beginning of the FTP. Additionally, we eliminated EGR at high load to improve power density. Major modifications, such as increasing the compression ratio or pressure boosting, were eliminated from consideration due to cost, complexity, reliability, or emissions penalties.
Technical Paper

Conversion of a 1999 Silverado to Dedicated E85 with Emphasis on Cold Start and Cold Driveability

2000-03-06
2000-01-0590
The University of Texas Ethanol Vehicle Challenge team focused upon cold start/driveability, fuel economy, and emissions reduction for our 1999 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge entry. We replaced or coated all fuel system components that were not ethanol compatible. We used the stock PCM for all control functions except control of a novel cold-start system our team designed. The primary modifications for improved emissions control involved ceramic coating of the exhaust manifolds, use of close-coupled ethanol-specific catalysts, increased EGR for the operating conditions of the five longest cruises on the FTP, and our cold-start system that eliminates the need to overfuel the engine at the beginning of the FTP. This EGR control scheme should also benefit urban fuel economy. Additionally, we eliminated EGR at high load to improve power density.
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

Combustion Modeling in SI Engines with a Peninsula-Fractal Combustion Model

1996-02-01
960072
In premixed turbulent combustion models, two mechanisms have been used to explain the increase in the flame speed due to the turbulence. The newer explanation considers the full range of turbulence scales which wrinkle the flame front so as to increase the flame front area and, thus, the flame propagation speed. The fractal combustion model is an example of this concept. The older mechanism assumes that turbulence enables the penetration of unburned mixtures across the flame front via entrainment into the burned mixture zone. The entrainment combustion or eddy burning model is an example of this mechanism. The results of experimental studies of combustion regimes and the flame structures in SI engines has confirmed that most combustion takes place at the wrinkled flame front with additional combustion taking place in the form of flame fingers or peninsulas.
Technical Paper

Diluents and Lean Mixture Combustion Modeling for SI Engines with a Quasi-Dimensional Model

1995-10-01
952382
Lean mixture combustion might be an important feature in the next generation of SI engines, while diluents (internal and external EGR) have already played a key role in the reductions of emissions and fuel consumption. Lean burn modeling is even more important for engine modeling tools which are sometimes used for new engine development. The effect of flame strain on flame speed is believed to be significant, especially under lean mixture conditions. Current quasi-dimensional engine models usually do not include flame strain effects and tend to predict burn rate which is too high under lean burn conditions. An attempt was made to model flame strain effects in quasi-dimensional SI engine models. The Ford model GESIM (stands for General Engine SIMulation) was used as the platform. A new strain rate model was developed with the Lewis number effect included.
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