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Technical Paper

Impact of Railplug Circuit Parameters on Energy Deposition and Durability

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

Further Analysis of Railplugs as a New Type of Ignitor

The results of continuing investigations of a new type of ignitor, the railplug, are reported. Previous studies have shown that railplugs can produce a high velocity jet that is driven both by electromagnetic and thermal forces and that the jet velocity is strongly affected by the railplug geometry and by the electronics characteristics of the follow-on circuit. The present research was intended to provide insights about both: 1) how to match the electronics characteristics to a given geometry and 2) how the geometry affects the jet velocity. It is found that faster current rise times result in higher plasma velocities but current pulses that are too short result in rapid deceleration of the plasma while it is still within the railplug. It is also found that a fundamental geometric parameter is the ratio of the inductance gradient to the volume trapped within the railplug: the larger L′/V, the faster the resulting combustion process.