Lean-burn spark-ignition engines exhibit higher efficiency and lower specific emissions in comparison with stoichiometrically charged engines. However, as the air-to-fuel (A/F) ratio of the mixture is made leaner than stoichiometric, cycle-by-cycle variations in the early stages of in-cylinder combustion, and subsequent indicated mean effective pressure (IMEP), become more pronounced and limit the range of lean-burn operation. Viable lean-burn engines promote charge stratification, the mixture near the spark plug being richer than the cylinder volume averaged value. Recent work has shown that cycle-by-cycle variations in the early stages of combustion in a stratified-charge engine can be associated with variations in both the local value of A/F ratio near the spark plug around ignition timing, as well as in the volume averaged value of the A/F ratio. The objective of the current work was to identify possible sources of such variability in A/F ratio by studying the in-cylinder field of fuel-droplet distribution during the early intake stroke. This field was visualised in an optical single-cylinder 4-valve pentroof-type spark-ignition engine by means of laser-sheet illumination in planes parallel to the cylinder head gasket 6 and 10 mm below the spark plug. The engine was run with port-injected isooctane at 1500 rpm with 30% volumetric efficiency and air-to-fuel ratio corresponding to both stoichiometric firing (A/F=15, Φ =1.0) and mixture strength close to the lean limit of stable operation (A/F=22, Φ =0.68). Images of Mie intensity scattered by the cloud of fuel droplets were acquired on a cycle-by-cycle basis. These were studied in order to establish possible correlations between the cyclic variations in size, location and scattered-light intensity of the cloud of droplets with the respective variations in IMEP. Because of the low level of Mie intensity scattered by the droplets and because of problems related to elastic scattering on the walls of the combustion chamber, as well as problems related to engine “rocking” at the operating conditions close to the misfire limit, the acquired images were processed for background subtraction by using a PIV-based data correction algorithm. After this processing, the arrival and leaving timings of fuel droplets into the illuminated plane were found not to vary significantly on a cycle-by-cycle basis but the recorded cycle-by-cycle variations in Mie intensity suggested that the amount of fuel in the cylinder could have been 6–26% greater for the “strong” cycles with IMEP 115% higher than the average IMEP, than the ones imaged for “weak” cycles at less than 85% the average IMEP. This would correspond to a maximum cyclic variability in the in-cylinder equivalence ratio Φ of the order of 0.17.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2005
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