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Technical Paper

A Feasibility Study of Using DI Butanol as an Ignition Source for Dual-Fuel Combustion

The combustion of dual-fuel engines usually uses a pilot flame to burn out a background fuel inside a cylinder under high compression. The background fuel can be either a gaseous fuel or a volatile liquid fuel, commonly with low reactivity to prevent premature combustion and engine knocking; whereas the pilot flame is normally set off with the direct injection of a liquid fuel with adequate reactivity that is suitable for deterministic auto-ignition with a high compression ratio. In this work, directly injected butanol is used to generate the pilot flame, while intake port injected ethanol or butanol is employed as the background fuel. Compared with the conventional diesel-only combustion, dual-fuel operations not only broaden the fuel applicability, but also enhance the potential for clean combustion, in high efficiency engines. The amount of background fuel and the scheduling of pilot flame are investigated through extensive laboratory experiments.
Technical Paper

A Fuel Sensitive Ignition Delay Model for Direct Injection Diesel Engine Operating under EGR Diluted Conditions

This empirical work investigates the impacts of thermodynamic parameters, such as pressure and temperature, and fuel properties, such as fuel Cetane number and aromatic contents on ignition delay in diesel engines. Systematic tests are conducted on a single-cylinder research engine to evaluate the ignition delay changes due to the fuel property differences at low, medium and high engine loads under different EGR dilution ratios. The test fuels offer a range of Cetane numbers from 28 to 54.2 and aromatic contents volume ratios from 19.4% to 46.6%. The experimental results of ignition delays are used to derive an ignition delay model modified from Arrhenius’ expression. Following the same format of Arrhenius’ equation, the model incorporates the pressure and temperature effects, and further includes the impacts of intake oxygen concentration, fuel Cetane number and aromatic contents volume ratio on the ignition delay.
Technical Paper

A Preliminary Study of Ignition Consistency and Heat Release Analysis for a Common-Rail Diesel Engine

Common-rail fuel systems have been recognized as an effective means to shape the heat release rate. In this paper measured cylinder pressure and fuel injection data for a common-rail diesel engine were analyzed to develop an empirical heat release rate model. A set of discrete Wiebe functions, one to describe the pilot injection combustion and the other to describe the main injection combustion, have been proposed to model the heat release data. The coefficients in the model were adjusted to match the observed heat release diagram. An expression for ignition delay for pilot injection and main injection has also been suggested for test conditions.
Technical Paper

A Preliminary Study of the Discharge Current and Spark Energy for the Multi-Coil Offset Strategy

To overcome the unfavorable operation conditions caused by lean/diluted charges in modern Spark Ignited (SI) engines, various advanced ignition systems have been proposed in the past. Among them, the dual-coil and multi-coil Transistor Coil Ignition (TCI) systems with offset discharge strategy caused significant attention in literature because they can generate a continuous spark with high spark energy being delivered into the cylinder. Comparing with the dual-coil system, a multi-coil system is capable to apply more flexible control strategies and generate a higher discharge current. However, the spark energy and transfer efficiency of the multi-coil system are still worthy to investigate as they are important performance indicators for a TCI system. In this paper, the discharge characteristics of the dual-coil and triple-coil strategies under both quiescent and flow conditions were studied firstly by experimental methods.
Technical Paper

A Preliminary Thermal Response Analysis of Exhaust Pipe Plenums for Diesel Aftertreatment Improvement

Empirical and analytical investigations are conducted to evaluate the thermal response of exhaust pipe plenums at different levels of exhaust gas recirculation and through a variety of fuel delivery strategies. The effectiveness of different combustion control techniques is evaluated for moderating the engine-out exhaust temperature. Comparison of the external fuel injection with in-cylinder post injection for enabling aftertreatment is provided which indicates the stronger temperature raising potential of the external fuel injection. This research attempts to quantify the thermal response of the exhaust pipe plenums and its effects on the gas temperature at the inlet of the aftertreatment devices. The measurement and modeling of the dynamic thermal response in this research intend to improve the performance of diesel aftertreatment devices.
Technical Paper

A Simplified Circuit Model for the Emulation of Glow Phase during Spark Discharge

The ever-growing demand to meet the stringent exhaust emission regulations have driven the development of modern gasoline engines towards lean combustion strategies and downsizing to achieve the reduction of exhaust emission and fuel consumption. Currently, the inductive ignition system is still the dominant ignition system applied in Spark Ignited (SI) engines. It is popular due to its simple design, low cost and robust performance. The new development in spark ignition engines demands higher spark energy to be delivered by the inductive ignition system to overcome the unfavorable ignition conditions caused by the increased and diluted in-cylinder charge. To meet this challenge, better understanding of the inductive ignition system is required. The development of a first principle model for simulation can help in understanding the working mechanism of the system in a better way.
Technical Paper

A Study of Energy Enhanced Multi-Spark Discharge Ignition in a Constant-Volume Combustion Chamber

Multi-spark discharge (MSD) ignition is widely used in high-speed internal combustion engines such as racing cars, motorcycles and outboard motors in attempts to achieve multiple sparks during each ignition. In contrast to transistor coil ignition (TCI) system, MSD system can be greatly shortened the charging time in a very short time. However, when the engine speed becomes higher, the ignition will be faster, electrical energy stored in the ignition system will certainly become less, especially for MSD system. Once the energy released into the spark plug gap can’t be guaranteed sufficiently, ignition will become more difficult, and it will get worse in some harsh environment such as strong turbulence or lean fuel conditions. With these circumstances, the risks of misfire and partial combustion will increase, which can deteriorate the power outputs and exhaust emissions of internal combustion engine.
Technical Paper

A Thermal Analysis of Active-flow Control on Diesel Engine Aftertreatment

One-dimensional transient modeling techniques are adapted to analyze the thermal behavior of lean-burn after-treatment systems when active flow control schemes are applied. The active control schemes include parallel alternating flow, partial restricting flow, and periodic flow reversal (FR) that are found to be especially effective to treat engine exhausts that are difficult to cope with conventional passive flow converters. To diesel particulate filters (DPF), lean NOx traps (LNT), and oxidation converters (OC), the combined use of active flow control schemes are identified to be capable of shifting the exhaust gas temperature, flow rate, and oxygen concentration to more favorable windows for the filtration, conversion, and regeneration processes. Comparison analyses are made between active flow control and passive flow control schemes in investigating the influences of gas flow, heat transfer, chemical reaction, oxygen concentration, and converter properties.
Technical Paper

A Thermal Response Analysis on the Transient Performance of Active Diesel Aftertreatment

Diesel fueling and exhaust flow strategies are investigated to control the substrate temperatures of diesel aftertreatment systems. The fueling control includes the common-rail post injection and the external supplemental fuel injection. The post injection pulses are further specified at the early, mid, or late stages of the engine expansion stroke. In comparison, the external fueling rates are moderated under various engine loads to evaluate the thermal impact. Additionally, the active-flow control schemes are implemented to improve the overall energy efficiency of the system. In parallel with the empirical work, the dynamic temperature characteristics of the exhaust system are simulated one-dimensionally with in-house and external codes. The dynamic thermal control, measurement, and modeling of this research intend to improve the performance of diesel particulate filters and diesel NOx absorbers.
Journal Article

Active Injection Control for Enabling Clean Combustion in Ethanol-Diesel Dual-Fuel Mode

In this work, an active injection control strategy is developed for enabling clean and efficient combustion on an ethanol-diesel dual-fuel engine. The essence of this active injection control is the minimization of the diffusion burning and resultant emissions associated with the diesel injection while maintaining controllability over the ignition and combustion processes. A stand-alone injection bench is employed to characterize the rate of injection for the diesel injection events, and a regression model is established to describe the injection timings and injector delays. A new combustion control parameter is proposed to characterize the extent of diffusion burning on a cycle-to-cycle basis by comparing the modelled rate of diesel injection with the rate of heat release in real time. The test results show that the proposed parameter, compared with the traditional ignition delay, better correlates to the enabling of low NOx and low smoke combustion.
Technical Paper

Adaptive Fuel Injection Tests to Extend EGR Limits on Diesel Engines

Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is effective to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel engines. However, when excessive EGR is applied, the engine operation reaches zones with higher combustion instability, carbonaceous emissions, and power losses. In order to improve the engine combustion process with the use of heavy EGR, the influences of boost pressure, intake temperature, and fuel injection timing are evaluated. An adaptive fuel injection strategy is applied as the EGR level is progressively elevated towards the limiting conditions. Additionally, characterization tests are performed to improve the control of the homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) type of engine cycles, especially when heavy EGR levels are applied to increase the load level of HCCI operations. This paper constitutes the preparation work for a variety of algorithms currently being investigated at the authors' laboratory as a part of the model-based NOx control research.
Journal Article

An Empirical Study to Extend Engine Load in Diesel Low Temperature Combustion

In this work, engine tests were performed to realize EGR-enabled LTC on a single-cylinder common-rail diesel engine with three different compression ratios (17.5, 15 and 13:1). The engine performance was first investigated at 17.5:1 compression ratio to provide baseline results, against which all further testing was referenced. The intake boost and injection pressure were progressively increased to ascertain the limiting load conditions for the compression ratio. To extend the engine load range, the compression ratio was then lowered and EGR sweep tests were again carried out. The strength and homogeneity of the cylinder charge were enhanced by using intake boost up to 3 bar absolute and injection pressure up to 180 MPa. The combustion phasing was locked in a narrow crank angle window (5~10° ATDC), during all the tests.
Journal Article

An Enabling Study of Diesel Low Temperature Combustion via Adaptive Control

Low temperature combustion (LTC), though effective to reduce soot and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) simultaneously from diesel engines, operates in narrowly close to unstable regions. Adaptive control strategies are developed to expand the stable operations and to improve the fuel efficiency that was commonly compromised by LTC. Engine cycle simulations were performed to better design the combustion control models. The research platform consists of an advanced common-rail diesel engine modified for the intensified single cylinder research and a set of embedded real-time (RT) controllers, field programmable gate array (FPGA) devices, and a synchronized personal computer (PC) control and measurement system.
Technical Paper

An Enabling Study of Neat n-Butanol HCCI Combustion on a High Compression-ratio Diesel Engine

This work investigates the benefits and challenges of enabling neat n-butanol HCCI combustion on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) diesel engine. Minor engine modifications are made to implement n-butanol port injection while other engine components are kept intact. The impacts of the fuel change, from diesel to n-butanol, are examined through steady-state engine tests with independent control of the intake boost and exhaust gas recirculation. As demonstrated by the test results, the HCCI combustion of a thoroughly premixed n-butanol/air lean mixture offers near-zero smoke and ultralow NOx emissions even without the use of exhaust gas recirculation and produces comparable engine efficiencies to those of conventional diesel high temperature combustion. The test results also manifest the control challenges of running a neat alcohol fuel in the HCCI combustion mode.
Journal Article

An Improvement on Low Temperature Combustion in Neat Biodiesel Engine Cycles

Extensive empirical work indicates that the exhaust emission and fuel efficiency of modern common-rail diesel engines characterise strong resilience to biodiesel fuels when the engines are operating in conventional high temperature combustion cycles. However, as the engine cycles approach the low temperature combustion (LTC) mode, which could be implemented by the heavy use of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or the homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) type of combustion, the engine performance start to differ between the use of conventional and biodiesel fuels. Therefore, a set of fuel injection strategies were compared empirically under independently controlled EGR, intake boost, and exhaust backpressure in order to improve the neat biodiesel engine cycles.
Technical Paper

An Investigation of EGR Treatment on the Emission and Operating Characteristics of Modern Diesel Engines

Tests are conducted to improve the use of exhaust gas recirculation on a single cylinder diesel engine with EGR stream treatment techniques that include intake heating, combustible substance oxidation, catalytic fuel reforming, and partial bypass-flow control. In parallel with the empirical work, theoretical modeling analyses are performed to investigate the effectiveness of the reforming process and the combined effects on the overall system efficiency. The research is aimed at stabilizing and expanding the limits of heavy EGR during steady and transient operations so that the individual limiting conditions of EGR can be better identified. Additionally, the heavy EGR is applied to enable in-cylinder low temperature combustion. The effectiveness of EGR treatment on engine emission and operating characteristics are therefore reported.
Technical Paper

An Investigation of Near-Spark-Plug Flow Field and Its Effect on Spark Behavior

In the recent decades, the emission and fuel efficiency regulations put forth by the emission regulation agencies have become increasingly stringent and this trend is expected to continue in future. The advanced spark ignition (SI) engines can operate under lean conditions to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. Under such lean conditions, the ignition and complete combustion of the charge mixture is a challenge because of the reduced charge reactivity. Enhancement of the in-cylinder charge motion and turbulence to increase the flame velocity, and consequently reduce the combustion duration is one possible way to improve lean combustion. The role of air motion in better air-fuel mixing and increasing the flame velocity, by enhancing turbulence has been researched extensively. However, during the ignition process, the charge motion can influence the initial spark discharge, resulting flame kernel formation, and flame propagation.
Technical Paper

An Investigation on the Regeneration of Lean NOx Trap Using Ethanol and n-Butanol

Reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in lean burn and diesel fueled Compression Ignition (CI) engines is one of the major challenges faced by automotive manufacturers. Lean NOx Trap (LNT) and urea-based Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) exhaust after-treatment systems are well established technologies to reduce NOx emissions. However, each of these technologies has associated advantages and disadvantages for use over a wide range of engine operating conditions. In order to meet future ultra-low NOx emission norms, the use of both alternative fuels and advanced after-treatment technology may be required. The use of an alcohol fuel such as n-butanol or ethanol in a CI engine can reduce the engine-out NOx and soot emissions. In CI engines using LNTs for NOx reduction, the fuel such as diesel is utilized as a reductant for LNT regeneration.
Technical Paper

Boosted Current Spark Strategy for Lean Burn Spark Ignition Engines

Spark ignition systems with the capability of providing spark event with either higher current level or longer discharge duration has been developed in recent years to help IC engines towards clean combustion with higher efficiency under lean/diluted intake charge. In this research, a boosted current spark strategy was proposed to investigate the effect of spark discharge current level and discharge duration on the combustion process. Firstly, the discharge characteristics of a boosted current spark system were tested with a traditional spark plug under crossflow conditions, and results showed that the spark channel was more stable, and was stretched much longer when the discharge current was boosted. Then the boosted current strategy was used in a spark ignition engine operating under lean conditions. Boosted current was added to the spark channel with different timing, duration, and current levels.
Technical Paper

Boundary Layer Enhanced Thermal Recuperation for Diesel Particulate Filter Regeneration under a Periodic Flow Reversal Operation

Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) are viable to reduce smoke from diesel engines. An oxidation process is usually required to remove the Particulate Matter (PM) loading from the DPF substrates. In cases when the engine exhaust temperature is insufficient to initiate a thermal regeneration, supplemental energy is commonly applied to raise the exhaust gas and/or the DPF substrate temperatures. A flow reversal (FR) mechanism that traps a high temperature region in the DPF substrate by periodically altering the gas flow directions has been identified to be capable of reducing the supplemental energy and thus to improve the overall thermal efficiency of the engine. However, extended operations with low exhaust temperature lowers the DPF boundary temperatures that defers the regeneration processes. Furthermore, the temperature fluctuations caused by the periodic FR operation also increase the thermal stress in the DPF.