In spark ignition engines, cycle-to-cycle variation (CCV) limits the expansion of the operating range because it induces the load variations and the occurrence of misfire and/or knock. Variable valve actuation (VVA) or variable valve lift (VVL) has been widely used in SI engines to improve the volumetric efficiency or to reduce the pumping losses. It is necessary to investigate the CCV of in-cylinder gas motion and mixing processes in SI engines with VVA/VVL system. This study is aimed to analyze the CCV of the tumble flow in a gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine when VVL is employed. Cycle-resolved digital particle image velocimetry (CRD-PIV) data were acquired for the in-cylinder flow field of a motored four-stroke multi-valve GDI optical engine. The CCV of in-cylinder gas motion with a series of valve profiles and different maximum valve lift (MVL) was analyzed, including cyclic variation characteristics of bulk flow (tumble centre and tumble ratio), large- and small-scale fluctuation, total kinetic energy, and circulation. The results show that the CCV of the in-cylinder flow is increased with reduced MVL. With lower MVLs, stable tumble flow cannot be formed in the cylinder, and the ensemble-averaged tumble ratio decreases to zero before the end of the compression stroke due to violent variation. In addition, the evolution of the circulation shows larger variation with lower MVLs that indicates the ‘spin’ of the small-scale eddy in the flow field presents violent fluctuation from one cycle to another, especially at the end of the compression stroke. Moreover, the analyze of the kinetic energy indicates the total energy of the flow field with lower MVLs increases significantly comparing with higher MVL conditions due to the intake flow jet at the intake valve seat in the intake stroke. However, the CCV of the in-cylinder flow becomes more violent under lower MVL conditions, especially for the low-frequency fluctuation kinetic energy. Thus, present strong tumble flow can lower the CCV of the air motion. It is necessary to manage strong tumble or other bulk flow (such as swirl flow) in order to improve the stability of ignition and combustion for GDI engines with VVL, especially at the lower MVL conditions.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: May 17, 2012
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