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Journal Article

A Continuous Discharge Ignition System for EGR Limit Extension in SI Engines

A novel continuous inductive discharge ignition system has been developed that allows for variable duration ignition events in SI engines. The system uses a dual-coil design, where two coils are connected by a diode, combined with the multi-striking coil concept, to generate a continuous current flow through the spark plug. The current level and duration can be regulated by controlling the number of re-strikes that each coil performs or the energy density the primary coils are charged to. Compared to other extended duration systems, this system allows for fairly high current levels during the entire discharge event while avoiding the extremely high discharge levels associated with other, shorter duration, high energy ignition systems (e.g. the plasma jet [ 1 , 2 ], railplug [ 3 ] or laser ignition systems [ 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 ].
Technical Paper

A High-Energy Continuous Discharge Ignition System for Dilute Engine Applications

SwRI has developed the DCO® ignition system, a unique continuous discharge system that allows for variable duration/energy events in SI engines. The system uses two coils connected by a diode and a multi-striking controller to generate a continuous current flow through the spark plug of variable duration. A previous publication demonstrated the ability of the DCO system to improve EGR tolerance using low energy coils. In this publication, the work is extended to high current (≻ 300 mA/high energy (≻ 200 mJ) coils and compared to several advanced ignition systems. The results from a 4-cylinder, MPI application demonstrate that the higher current/higher energy coils offer an improvement over the lower energy coils. The engine was tested at a variety of speed and load conditions operating at stoichiometric air-fuel ratios with gasoline and EGR dilution.
Journal Article

Advanced Ignition Systems Evaluations for High-Dilution SI Engines

A series of ignition systems were evaluated for their suitability for high-EGR SI engine applications. Testing was performed in a constant-volume combustion chamber and in a single-cylinder research engine, with EGR rates of up to 40% evaluated. All of the evaluated systems were able to initiate combustion at a simulated 20% EGR level, but not all of the resulting combustion rates were adequate for stable engine operation. High energy spark discharge systems were better, and could ignite a flame at up to 40% simulated EGR, though again the combustion rates were slow relative to that required for stable engine performance. The most effective systems for stable combustion at high EGR rates were systems which created a large effective flame kernel and/or a long kernel lifetime, such as a torch-style prechamber spark plug or a corona discharge igniter.
Journal Article

Engine Operating Condition and Gasoline Fuel Composition Effects on Low-Speed Pre-Ignition in High-Performance Spark Ignited Gasoline Engines

Downsizing is an important concept to reduce fuel consumption as well as emissions of spark ignition engines. Engine displacement is reduced in order to shift operating points from lower part load into regions of the operating map with higher efficiency and thus lower specific fuel consumption [ 1 ]. Since maximum power in full load operation decreases due to the reduction of displacement, engines are boosted (turbocharging or supercharging), which leads to a higher specific loading of the engines. Hence, a new combustion phenomenon has been observed at high loads and low engine speed and is referred to as Low-Speed Pre-Ignition or LSPI. In cycles with LSPI, the air/fuel mixture is ignited prior to the spark which results in the initial flame propagation quickly transforming into heavy engine knock. Very high pressure rise rates and peak cylinder pressures could exceed design pressure limits, which in turn could lead to degradation of the engine.
Technical Paper

Fuel Spray Dynamics and Fuel Vapor Concentration Near the Spark Plug in a Direct-Injected 4-Valve SI Engine

The mixture preparation process was investigated in a direct-injected, 4-valve, SI engine under motored conditions. The engine had a transparent cylinder liner that allowed the fuel spray to be imaged using laser sheet Mie scattering. A fiber optic probe was used to measure the vapor phase fuel concentration history at the spark plug location between the two intake valves. The fuel injector was located on the cylinder axis. Two flow fields were examined; the stock configuration (tumble index 1.4) and a high tumble (tumble index 3.4) case created using shrouded intake valves. The fuel spray was visualized with the engine motored at 750 and 1500 RPM. Start of injection timings of 90°, 180° and 270° after TDC of intake were examined. The imaging showed that the fuel jet is greatly distorted for the high tumble condition, particularly at higher engine speeds. The tumble was large enough to cause significant cylinder wall wetting under the exhaust valves for some conditions.
Technical Paper

Impact of Engine Age and Engine Hardware on Low-Speed Pre-Ignition

Low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) is a well-studied phenomenon in boosted, spark ignition engines. The impact of lubricant formulation has received a lot of attention in recent years, yet the impact of engine hardware and engine wear on LSPI is still not fully understood. This paper addresses some of these questions using results from multiple installations of the GM 2.0 L LHU engine platform. In the first part of the study, the effect of engine life on LSPI activity was observed, and it was found that engines were susceptible to variations in LSPI activity during the initial LSPI tests with the activity eventually reaching a “stabilized” level. It was further observed that the LSPI activity generally continued to decline at a steady rate as the engine aged. For engines used in LSPI testing, the life of the engine is often limited as LSPI activity decays with age.
Journal Article

LPL EGR and D-EGR® Engine Concept Comparison Part 2: High Load Operation

The ongoing pursuit of improved engine efficiency and emissions is driving gasoline low-pressure loop EGR systems into production around the globe. The Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine was developed to minimize some of the challenges of cooled EGR while maintaining its advantages. The D-EGR engine is a high efficiency, low emissions internal combustion engine for automotive and off-highway applications. The core of the engine development focused on a unique concept that combines the efficiency improvements associated with recirculated exhaust gas and the efficiency improvements associated with fuel reformation. To outline the differences of the new engine concept with a conventional LPL EGR setup, a turbocharged 2.0 L PFI engine was modified to operate in both modes. The second part of the cooled EGR engine concept comparison investigates efficiency, knock resistance, combustion stability, and maximum load potential at high load conditions.
Journal Article

Lubricant Reactivity Effects on Gasoline Spark Ignition Engine Knock

The performance and efficiency of spark ignited gasoline engines is often limited by end-gas knock. In particular, when operating the engine at high loads, combustion phasing is retarded to prevent knock, resulting in a significant reduction of engine efficiency. Since the invention of the spark ignition (SI) engine, much work has been devoted to improve and regulate fuel characteristics, such as octane number, to suppress engine knock. The auto-ignition tendency of the engine lubricant however, as described by cetane number (CN), has received little attention, as it has been assumed that engine lubricant effects on knock are insignificant, primarily due to low levels of average oil consumption. However, with modern SI engines being developed to operate at higher loads and closer to knock limits, the reactivity of engine lubricants can impact the knock behavior.
Journal Article

The Effect of EGR on Low-Speed Pre-Ignition in Boosted SI Engines

The spark ignition (SI) engine has been known to exhibit several different abnormal combustion phenomena, such as knock or pre-ignition, which have been addressed with improved engine design or control schemes. However, in highly boosted SI engines - where the engine displacement is reduced and turbocharging is employed to increase specific power - a new combustion phenomenon, described as Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI), has been exhibited. LSPI is characterized as a pre-ignition event typically followed by heavy knock, which has the potential to cause degradation of the engine. However, because LSPI events occur only sporadically and in an uncontrolled fashion, it is difficult to identify the causes for this phenomenon and to develop solutions to suppress it. Some countermeasures exist that OEMs can use to avoid LSPI, such as load limiting, but these have drawbacks.
Journal Article

The Effects of Piston Crevices and Injection Strategy on Low-Speed Pre-Ignition in Boosted SI Engines

The spark ignition (SI) engine has been known to exhibit several different abnormal combustion phenomena, such as knock or pre-ignition, which have been addressed with improved engine design or control schemes. However, in highly boosted SI engines, Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI), a pre-ignition event typically followed by heavy knock, has developed into a topic of major interest due to its potential for engine damage. Previous experiments associated increases in hydrocarbon emissions with the blowdown event of an LSPI cycle [1]. Also, the same experiments showed that there was a dependency of the LSPI activity on fuel and/or lubricant compositions [1]. Based on these findings it was hypothesized that accumulated hydrocarbons play a role in LSPI and are consumed during LSPI events. A potential source for accumulated HC is the top land piston crevice.