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Technical Paper

Early Flame Development and Burning Rates in Spark Ignition Engines and Their Cyclic Variability

Experiments by Gatowski and Heywood have been analyzed to obtain both qualitative and quantitative information on early flame development and burning rates in a square piston premixed spark-ignition engine. Flame growth was observed using high speed Schlieren photography and simultaneous pressure records were obtained using piezo-electric transducers. To study the effects of in-cylinder gas motion several combinations of shrouded and unshrouded inlet valves, and flat and stepped pistons were used. Spark position was also varied. The analysis supports the wrinkled laminar flame model of turbulent flame structure in spark-ignition engines. It also suggests that cycle-by-cycle variations in the growth rate and location of the flame kernel at very early times are the major cause of cycle-by-cycle pressure variations in spark-ignition engines.