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Journal Article

The Influence of Fuel Cetane Number on Catalyst Light-Off Operation in a Modern Diesel Engine

The design of modern diesel-powered vehicles involves optimization and balancing of trade-offs for fuel efficiency, emissions, and noise. To meet increasingly stringent emission regulations, diesel powertrains employ aftertreatment devices to control nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter emissions and use active exhaust warm-up strategies to ensure those devices are active as quickly as possible. A typical strategy for exhaust warm-up is to operate with retarded combustion phasing, limited by combustion stability and HC emissions. The amount of exhaust enthalpy available for catalyst light-off is limited by the extent to which combustion phasing can be retarded. Diesel cetane number (CN), a measure of fuel ignition quality, has an influence on combustion stability at retarded combustion phasing. Diesel fuel in the United States tends to have a lower CN (both minimum required and average in market) than other countries.
Technical Paper

Piston Bowl Geometry Effects on Combustion Development in a High-Speed Light-Duty Diesel Engine

In this work we studied the effects of piston bowl design on combustion in a small-bore direct-injection diesel engine. Two bowl designs were compared: a conventional, omega-shaped bowl and a stepped-lip piston bowl. Experiments were carried out in the Sandia single-cylinder optical engine facility, with a medium-load, mild-boosted operating condition featuring a pilot+main injection strategy. CFD simulations were carried out with the FRESCO platform featuring full-geometric body-fitted mesh modeling of the engine and were validated against measured in-cylinder performance as well as soot natural luminosity images. Differences in combustion development were studied using the simulation results, and sensitivities to in-cylinder flow field (swirl ratio) and injection rate parameters were also analyzed.
Journal Article

Investigation of Impacts of Spark Plug Orientation on Early Flame Development and Combustion in a DI Optical Engine

The influence of spark plug orientation on early flame kernel development is investigated in an optically accessible gasoline direct injection homogeneous charged spark ignition engine. This investigation provides visual understanding and statistical characterization of how spark plug orientation impacts the early flame kernel and thus combustion phasing and engine performance. The projected images of flame kernel were captured through natural flame chemiluminescence with a high-speed camera at 10,000 frames per second, and the ignition secondary discharge voltage and current were measured with a 10 MHz DAQ system. The combustion metrics were determined using measurement from a piezo-electric in-cylinder pressure transducer and real-time engine combustion analyzer. Three spark plug orientations with two different electrode designs were studied. The captured images of the flame were processed to yield 2D and 1D probability distributions.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Flow Conditions and Tumble near the Spark Plug in a DI Optical Engine at Ignition

Tumble motion plays a significant role in modern spark-ignition engines in that it promotes mixing of air/fuel for homogeneous combustion and increases the flame propagation speed for higher thermal efficiency and lower combustion variability. Cycle-by-cycle variations in the flow near the spark plug introduce variability to the initial flame kernel development, stretching, and convection, and this variability is carried over to the entire combustion process. The design of current direct-injection spark-ignition engines aims to have a tumble flow in the vicinity of the spark plug at the time of ignition. This work investigates how the flow condition changes in the vicinity of the spark plug throughout the late compression stroke via high-speed imaging of a long ignition discharge arc channel and its stretching, and via flow field measurement by particle imaging velocimetry.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Diesel Liquid Spray Penetration Fluctuations under Vaporizing Conditions

Diesel combustion and emissions formation is largely spray and mixing controlled and hence understanding spray parameters, specifically vaporization, is key to determine the impact of fuel injector operation and nozzle design on combustion and emissions. In this study, an eight-hole common rail piezoelectric injector was tested in an optically accessible constant volume combustion vessel at charge gas conditions typical of full load boosted engine operation. Liquid penetration of the eight sprays was determined via processing of images acquired from Mie back scattering under vaporizing conditions by injecting into a charge gas at elevated temperature with 0% oxygen. Conditions investigated included a charge temperature sweep of 800 to 1300 K and injection pressure sweep of 1034 to 2000 bar at a constant charge density of 34.8 kg/m₃.
Technical Paper

Experimental and Numerical Studies of Bowl Geometry Impacts on Thermal Efficiency in a Light-Duty Diesel Engine

In light- and medium-duty diesel engines, piston bowl shape influences thermal efficiency, either due to changes in wall heat loss or to changes in the heat release rate. The relative contributions of these two factors are not clearly described in the literature. In this work, two production piston bowls are adapted for use in a single cylinder research engine: a conventional, re-entrant piston, and a stepped-lip piston. An injection timing sweep is performed at constant load with each piston, and heat release analyses provide information about thermal efficiency, wall heat loss, and the degree of constant volume combustion. Zero-dimensional thermodynamic simulations provide further insight and support for the experimental results. The effect of bowl geometry on wall heat loss depends on injection timing, but changes in wall heat loss cannot explain changes in efficiency.
Technical Paper

Bowl Geometry Effects on Turbulent Flow Structure in a Direct Injection Diesel Engine

Diesel piston bowl geometry can affect turbulent mixing and therefore it impacts heat-release rates, thermal efficiency, and soot emissions. The focus of this work is on the effects of bowl geometry and injection timing on turbulent flow structure. This computational study compares engine behavior with two pistons representing competing approaches to combustion chamber design: a conventional, re-entrant piston bowl and a stepped-lip piston bowl. Three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are performed for a part-load, conventional diesel combustion operating point with a pilot-main injection strategy under non-combusting conditions. Two injection timings are simulated based on experimental findings: an injection timing for which the stepped-lip piston enables significant efficiency and emissions benefits, and an injection timing with diminished benefits compared to the conventional, re-entrant piston.
Technical Paper

An Experimental Study on the Interaction between Flow and Spark Plug Orientation on Ignition Energy and Duration for Different Electrode Designs

The effect of flow direction towards the spark plug electrodes on ignition parameters is analyzed using an innovative spark aerodynamics fixture that enables adjustment of the spark plug gap orientation and plug axis tilt angle with respect to the incoming flow. The ignition was supplied by a long discharge high energy 110 mJ coil. The flow was supplied by compressed air and the spark was discharged into the flow at varying positions relative to the flow. The secondary ignition voltage and current were measured using a high speed (10MHz) data acquisition system, and the ignition-related metrics were calculated accordingly. Six different electrode designs were tested. These designs feature different positions of the electrode gap with respect to the flow and different shapes of the ground electrodes. The resulting ignition metrics were compared with respect to the spark plug ground strap orientation and plug axis tilt angle about the flow direction.
Technical Paper

Air Charge and Residual Gas Fraction Estimation for a Spark-Ignition Engine Using In-Cylinder Pressure

An accurate estimation of cycle-by-cycle in-cylinder mass and the composition of the cylinder charge is required for spark-ignition engine transient control strategies to obtain required torque, Air-Fuel-Ratio (AFR) and meet engine pollution regulations. Mass Air Flow (MAF) and Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensors have been utilized in different control strategies to achieve these targets; however, these sensors have response delay in transients. As an alternative to air flow metering, in-cylinder pressure sensors can be utilized to directly measure cylinder pressure, based on which, the amount of air charge can be estimated without the requirement to model the dynamics of the manifold.
Journal Article

A Study of Piston Geometry Effects on Late-Stage Combustion in a Light-Duty Optical Diesel Engine Using Combustion Image Velocimetry

In light-duty direct-injection (DI) diesel engines, combustion chamber geometry influences the complex interactions between swirl and squish flows, spray-wall interactions, as well as late-cycle mixing. Because of these interactions, piston bowl geometry significantly affects fuel efficiency and emissions behavior. However, due to lack of reliable in-cylinder measurements, the mechanisms responsible for piston-induced changes in engine behavior are not well understood. Non-intrusive, in situ optical measurement techniques are necessary to provide a deeper understanding of the piston geometry effect on in-cylinder processes and to assist in the development of predictive engine simulation models. This study compares two substantially different piston bowls with geometries representative of existing technology: a conventional re-entrant bowl and a stepped-lip bowl. Both pistons are tested in a single-cylinder optical diesel engine under identical boundary conditions.