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Journal Article

Trends in Performance Characteristics of Modern Automobile SI and Diesel Engines

A prior study (Chon and Heywood, [1]) examined how the design and performance of spark-ignition engines evolved in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. This paper carries out a similar analysis of trends in basic engine design and performance characteristics over the past decade. Available databases on engine specifications in the U.S., Europe, and Japan were used as the sources of information. Parameters analyzed were maximum torque, power, and speed; number of cylinders and engine configuration, cylinder displacement, bore, stroke, compression ratio; valvetrain configuration, number of valves and their control; port or direct fuel injection; naturally-aspirated or turbocharged engine concepts; spark-ignition and diesel engines. Design features are correlated with these engine’s performance parameters, normalized by engine and cylinder displacement.
Technical Paper

Time Resolved Measurements of Exhaust Composition and Flow Rate in a Wankel Engine

Measurements were made of exhaust histories of the following species: unburned hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitric oxide (NO). The measurements show that the exhaust flow can be divided into two distinct phases: a leading gas low in HC and high in NO followed by a trailing gas high in HC and low in NO. Calculations of time resolved equivalence ratio throughout the exhaust process show no evidence of a stratified combustion. The exhaust mass flow rate is time resolved by forcing the flow to be locally quasi-steady at an orifice placed in the exhaust pipe. The results with the quasi-steady assumption are shown to be consistent with the measurements. Predictions are made of time resolved mass flow rate which compare favorably to the experimental data base. The composition and flow histories provide sufficient information to calculate the time resolved flow rates of the individual species measured.
Journal Article

The Underlying Physics and Chemistry behind Fuel Sensitivity

Recent studies have shown that for a given RON, fuels with a higher sensitivity (RON-MON) tend to have better antiknock performance at most knock-limited conditions in modern engines. The underlying chemistry behind fuel sensitivity was therefore investigated to understand why this trend occurs. Chemical kinetic models were used to study fuels of varying sensitivities; in particular their autoignition delay times and chemical intermediates were compared. As is well known, non-sensitive fuels tend to be paraffins, while the higher sensitivity fuels tend to be olefins, aromatics, diolefins, napthenes, and alcohols. A more exact relationship between sensitivity and the fuel's chemical structure was not found to be apparent. High sensitivity fuels can have vastly different chemical structures. The results showed that the autoignition delay time (τ) behaved differently at different temperatures. At temperatures below 775 K and above 900 K, τ has a strong temperature dependence.
Journal Article

The Trade-off between Automobile Acceleration Performance, Weight, and Fuel Consumption

This paper evaluates how the fuel consumption of the average new U.S. passenger car will be penalized if engine and vehicle improvements continue to be focused on developing bigger, heavier and more powerful automobiles. We quantify a parameter called the Emphasis on Reducing Fuel Consumption (ERFC) and find that there has been little focus on improving fuel consumption in the U.S. over the past twenty years. In contrast, Europe has seen significantly higher ERFC. By raising the ERFC over the next few decades, we can reduce the average U.S. new car's fuel consumption by up to some 40 percent and cut the light-duty vehicle fleet's fuel use by about a quarter. Achieving substantial fuel use reduction will remain a major challenge if automobile size, weight and power continue to dominate.
Journal Article

The Shift in Relevance of Fuel RON and MON to Knock Onset in Modern SI Engines Over the Last 70 Years

Since the advent of the spark ignition engine, the maximum engine efficiency has been knock limited. Knock is a phenomena caused by the rapid autoignition of fuel/air mixture (endgas) ahead of the flame front. The propensity of a fuel to autoignite corresponds to its autoignition chemistry at the local endgas temperature and pressure. Since a fuel blend consists of many components, its autoignition chemistry is very complex. The octane index (OI) simplifies this complex autoignition chemistry by comparing a fuel to a Primary Reference Fuel (PRF), a binary blend of iso-octane and n-heptane. As more iso-octane is added into the blend, the PRF is less likely to autoignite. The OI of a fuel is defined as the volumetric percentage of iso-octane in the PRF blend that exhibits similar knocking characteristics at the same engine conditions.
Technical Paper

The Relevance of Fuel RON and MON to Knock Onset in Modern SI Engines

The Octane Index (OI) relates a fuel's knocking characteristics to a Primary Reference Fuel (PRF) that exhibits similar knocking characteristics at the same engine conditions. However, since the OI varies substantially with the engine operating conditions, it is typically measured at two standard conditions: the Research and Motor Octane Number (RON and MON) tests. These tests are intended to bracket the knock-limited operating range, and the OI is taken to be a weighted average of RON and MON: OI = K MON + (1-K) RON where K is the weighing factor. When the tests were established, K was approximately 0.5. However, recent tests with modern engines have found that K is now negative, indicating that the RON and MON tests no longer bracket the knock-limited operating conditions. Experiments were performed to measure the OI of different fuels in a modern engine to better understand the role of fuel sensitivity (RON-MON) on knock limits.
Technical Paper

The Performance of Future ICE and Fuel Cell Powered Vehicles and Their Potential Fleet Impact

A study at MIT of the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from advanced technology future automobiles has compared fuel cell powered vehicles with equivalent gasoline and diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles [1][2]. Current data regarding IC engine and fuel cell vehicle performance were extrapolated to 2020 to provide optimistic but plausible forecasts of how these technologies might compare. The energy consumed by the vehicle and its corresponding CO2 emissions, the fuel production and distribution energy and CO2 emissions, and the vehicle manufacturing process requirements were all evaluated and combined to give a well-to-wheels coupled with a cradle-to-grave assessment. The assessment results show that significant opportunities are available for improving the efficiency of mainstream gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions, and reducing vehicle resistances.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Fuel Characteristics on Combustion in a Spark-Ignited Direct-Injection Engine

An experimental study was conducted on a spark-ignited direct-injection engine burning fuels with different evaporation and autoignition characteristics. The test engine was a single-cylinder Direct-Injection Stratified-Charge (DISC) engine incorporating a combustion process similar to the Texaco Controlled Combustion System. Two fuels were tested and compared with a baseline gasoline fuel: diesel fuel, and gasoline mixed with an ignition improver. The tests were done at low to medium engine loads. Diesel fuel was found to have similar levels of hydrocarbon (HC) emissions as gasoline but had different characteristics. The optimum timing for diesel fuel was retarded from that for gasoline and combustion variability was much less with diesel than with gasoline. Gasoline with a commercial ignition improver normally used to increase the cetane number of diesel fuel was also tested. The effect of changing the autoignition quality of the fuel depended on the injector used.
Technical Paper

Simulation Studies of the Effects of Turbocharging and Reduced Heat Transfer on Spark-Ignition Engine Operation

A computer simulation of the four-stroke spark-ignition engine cycle has been used to examine the effects of turbocharging and reduced heat transfer on engine performance, efficiency and NOx emissions. The simulation computes the flows into and out of the engine, calculates the changes in thermodynamic properties and composition of the unburned and burned gas mixtures within the cylinder through the engine cycle due to work, heat and mass transfers, and follows the kinetics of NO formation and decomposition in the burned gas. The combustion process is specified as an input to the program through use of a normalized rate of mass burning profile. From this information, the simulation computes engine power, fuel consumption and NOx emissions. Wide-open-trottle predictions made with the simulation were compared with experimental data from a 5.7ℓ naturally-aspirated and a 3.8ℓ turbocharged production engine.
Technical Paper

Real World Performance of an Onboard Gasoline/Ethanol Separation System to Enable Knock Suppression Using an Octane-On-Demand Fuel System

Higher compression ratio and turbocharging, with engine downsizing can enable significant gains in fuel economy but require engine operating conditions that cause engine knock under high load. Engine knock can be avoided by supplying higher-octane fuel under such high load conditions. This study builds on previous MIT papers investigating Octane-On-Demand (OOD) to enable a higher efficiency, higher-boost higher compression-ratio engine. The high-octane fuel for OOD can be obtained through On-Board-Separation (OBS) of alcohol blended gasoline. Fuel from the primary fuel tank filled with commercially available gasoline that contains 10% by volume ethanol (E10) is separated by an organic membrane pervaporation process that produces a 30 to 90% ethanol fuel blend for use when high octane is needed. In addition to previous work, this paper combines modeling of the OBS system with passenger car and medium-duty truck fuel consumption and octane requirements for various driving cycles.
Technical Paper

Predicting the Effects of Air and Coolant Temperature, Deposits, Spark Timing and Speed on Knock in Spark Ignition Engines

The prediction of knock onset in spark-ignition engines requires a chemical model for the autoignition of the hydrocarbon fuel-air mixture, and a description of the unburned end-gas thermal state. Previous studies have shown that a reduced chemistry model developed by Keck et al. adequately predicts the initiation of autoignition. However, the combined effects of heat transfer and compression on the state of the end gas have not been thoroughly investigated. The importance of end-gas heat transfer was studied with the objective of improving the ability of our knock model to predict knock onset over a wide range of engine conditions. This was achieved through changing the thermal environment of the end gas by either varying the inlet air temperature or the coolant temperature. Results show that there is significant heating of the in-cylinder charge during intake and a substantial part of the compression process.
Technical Paper

Predicting the Behavior of a Hydrogen-Enhanced Lean-Burn SI Engine Concept

This paper explores the modeling of a lean boosted engine concept. Modeling provides a useful tool for investigating different parameters and comparing resultant emissions and fuel economy performance. An existing architectural concept has been tailored to a boosted hydrogen-enhanced lean-burn SI engine. The simulation consists of a set of Matlab models, part physical and part empirical, which has been developed to simulate a working engine. The model was calibrated with production engine data and experimental data taken at MIT. Combustion and emissions data come from a single cylinder research engine and include changes in air/fuel ratio, load and speed, and different fractions of the gasoline fuel reformed to H2 and CO. The outputs of the model are brake specific NOx emissions and brake specific fuel consumption maps along with cumulative NOx emissions and fuel economy for urban and highway drive cycles.
Technical Paper

Phenomena that Determine Knock Onset in Spark-Ignition Engines

Experiments were carried out to collect in-cylinder pressure data and microphone signals from a single-cylinder test engine using spark timingsbefore, at, and after knock onset for toluene reference fuels. The objective was to gain insight into the phenomena that determine knock onset, detected by an external microphone. In particular, the study examines how the end-gas autoignition process changes as the engine's spark timing is advanced through the borderline knock limit into the engine's knocking regime. Fast Fourier transforms (FFT) and bandpass filtering techniques were used to process the recorded cylinder pressure data to determine knock intensities for each cycle. Two characteristic pressure oscillation frequencies were detected: a peak just above 6 kHz and a range of peaks in the 15-22 kHz range. The microphone data shows that the audible knock signal has the same 6 kHz peak.
Technical Paper

Performance Maps of Turbocharged SI Engines with Gasoline-Ethanol Blends: Torque, Efficiency, Compression Ratio, Knock Limits, and Octane

1 Downsizing and turbocharging a spark-ignited engine is becoming an important strategy in the engine industry for improving the efficiency of gasoline engines. Through boosting the air flow, the torque is increased, the engine can thus be downsized, engine friction is reduced in both absolute and relative terms, and engine efficiency is increased. However knock onset with a given octane rating fuel limits both compression ratio and boost levels. This paper explores the operating limits of a turbocharged engine, with various gasoline-ethanol blends, and the interaction between compression ratio, boost levels, and spark retard, to achieve significant increases in maximum engine mean effective pressure and efficiency.
Technical Paper

Measurement of Gasoline Absorption into Engine Lubricating Oil

A method to collect and speciate the components of gasoline absorbed in the lubricant oil using gas chromatography has been developed. Samples were collected continuously from the piston skirt, baffle and sump in a Saturn engine. A long (18 hours) test was performed to determine the build up of hydrocarbons in the sump, and a shorter (25 min) test was performed to determine the build up of hydrocarbons in the piston skirt and baffle during engine warm-up. The first experiment showed that the total hydrocarbon concentration in the sump oil reached a steady state of about 1.35% mass fraction after 11 hours of engine operation. The relative concentration of individual fuel hydrocarbon species absorbed in the oil increases exponentially with boiling point. Most of the identified species in the oil consist of the heavy end aromatics. Similar compositions but lower concentrations were found for samples collected from the piston skirt during engine warm-up.
Technical Paper

Lean-Burn Characteristics of a Gasoline Engine Enriched with Hydrogen Plasmatron Fuel Reformer

When hydrogen is added to a gasoline fueled spark ignition engine the lean limit of the engine can be extended. Lean running engines are inherently more efficient and have the potential for significantly lower NOx emissions. In the engine concept examined here, supplemental hydrogen is generated on-board the vehicle by diverting a fraction of the gasoline to a plasmatron where a partial oxidation reaction is initiated with an electrical discharge, producing a plasmatron gas containing primarily hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen. Two different gas mixtures were used to simulate the plasmatron output. An ideal plasmatron gas (H2, CO, and N2) was used to represent the output of the theoretically best plasmatron. A typical plasmatron gas (H2, CO, N2, and CO2) was used to represent the current output of the plasmatron. A series of hydrogen addition experiments were also performed to quantify the impact of the non-hydrogen components in the plasmatron gas.
Technical Paper

Lean SI Engines: The role of combustion variability in defining lean limits

Previous research has shown the potential benefits of running an engine with excess air. The challenges of running lean have also been identified, but not all of them have been fundamentally explained. Under high dilution levels, a lean limit is reached where combustion becomes unstable, significantly deteriorating drivability and engine efficiency, thus limiting the full potential of lean combustion. This paper expands the understanding of lean combustion by explaining the fundamentals behind this rapid rise in combustion variability and how this instability can be reduced. A flame entrainment combustion model was used to explain the fundamentals behind the observed combustion behavior in a comprehensive set of lean gasoline and hydrogen-enhanced cylinder pressure data in an SI engine. The data covered a wide range of operating conditions including different compression ratios, loads, types of dilution, fuels including levels of hydrogen enhancement, and levels of turbulence.
Technical Paper

Knock Behavior of a Lean-Burn, H2 and CO Enhanced, SI Gasoline Engine Concept

Experiments were performed to identify the knock trends of lean hydrocarbon-air mixtures, and such mixtures enhanced with hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO). These enhanced mixtures simulated 15% and 30% of the engine's gasoline being reformed in a plasmatron fuel reformer [1]. Knock trends were determined by measuring the octane number (ON) of the primary reference fuel (mixture of isooctane and n-heptane) supplied to the engine that just produced audible knock. Experimental results show that leaner operation does not decrease the knock tendency of an engine under conditions where a fixed output torque is maintained; rather it slightly increases the octane requirement. The knock tendency does decrease with lean operation when the intake pressure is held constant, but engine torque is then reduced.
Technical Paper

Future Light-Duty Vehicles: Predicting their Fuel Consumption and Carbon-Reduction Potential

The transportation sector in the United States is a major contributor to global energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission. To assess the future potentials of different technologies in addressing these two issues, we used a family of simulation programs to predict fuel consumption for passenger cars in 2020. The selected technology combinations that have good market potential and could be in mass production include: advanced gasoline and diesel internal combustion engine vehicles with automatically-shifting clutched transmissions, gasoline, diesel, and compressed natural gas hybrid electric vehicles with continuously variable transmissions, direct hydrogen, gasoline and methanol reformer fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles with direct ratio drive, and battery electric vehicle with direct ratio drive.
Journal Article

Fuel Economy Benefits and Aftertreatment Requirements of a Naturally Aspirated HCCI-SI Engine System

This vehicle simulation study estimates the fuel economy benefits of an HCCI engine system and assesses the NOx, HC and CO aftertreatment performance required for compliance with emissions regulations on U.S. and European regulatory driving cycles. The four driving cycles considered are the New European Driving Cycle, EPA City Driving Cycle, EPA Highway Driving Cycle, and US06 Driving Cycle. For each driving cycle, the following influences on vehicle fuel economy were examined: power-to-weight ratio, HCCI combustion mode operating range, driving cycle characteristics, requirements for transitions out of HCCI mode when engine speeds and loads are within the HCCI operating range, fuel consumption and emissions penalties for transitions into and out of HCCI mode, aftertreatment system performance and tailpipe emissions regulations.