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Impact of fuel chemical function characteristics on spark assisted and kinetically controlled compression ignition performanc...

by Flavio Dal Forno Chuahy, Thomas R Powell, Scott J Curran, James P Szybist
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The DOE Co-Optima initiative has a focus on investigating the ability of fuel properties to work in tandem with advanced combustion engines to increase fuel economy. Advanced compression ignition strategies like spark assisted compression ignition (SACI) and partial fuel stratification (PFS) have been shown to achieve better efficiency and emissions performance than traditional combustion processes (i.e., conventional diesel combustion, spark ignited combustion). These strategies rely on a high degree of fuel mixing and a globally dilute environment to achieve lower temperature combustion. The avoidance of fuel rich regions and the reduction in peak flame temperatures result in low soot and NOx formation. Despite their clear benefits, operating range limitations have been identified for all combustion strategies. The limitations stem from the fundamental characteristics of each combustion process, hence they can't be entirely avoided. These limitations are also geometry, fuel type, dilution level and mixture preparation dependent. Metal engine experiments have been conducted on a single-cylinder research engine equipped with variable valve actuation and a 12.5:1 compression ratio, more appropriate for high load boosted spark ignition operation. Five fuels with different chemical class compositions but matched research octane number (RON) were tested under both SACI and PFS at mid load conditions. Combustion phasing was changed over the whole range of operability to show trade-offs between the fuels. Specific chemical, mixture preparation and thermodynamic effects are discussed for performance and emission results. SACI and PFS are then compared to a baseline spark ignition (SI) condition to estimate potential benefits of operating under advanced combustion modes. The results show that there are significant fuel specific effects even at matched RON and octane sensitivity that affect emissions, engine efficiency and range of operability of the different advanced combustion modes.