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Measurement of needle and armature dynamics in a gasoline direct injector by high-speed neutron imaging

Publication Type
Journal Name
International Journal of Engine Research
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 11

In modern spark ignition engines, precise delivery of fuel with gasoline direct injection has become increasingly important in the effort to meet ever stricter efficiency and emissions regulations. Use of multiple small close-coupled injections has become more common in attempt to precisely control fuel distribution in the cylinder, but these strategies are hindered by nonlinear injection effects due to operation in the ballistic region of the solenoid-operated valve and due to armature bounce at the end of injection. Understanding the internal dynamics of the injector is crucial to minimizing and controlling non-linearity and shot-to-shot variation, but the experimental techniques available to date are capable only of tracking the position of either the top of the needle (via laser sensors or by monitoring current and voltage in the solenoid coil) or the bottom of the needle (via transparent nozzles or high-speed x-ray imaging). A complete picture of the axial and radial motion of valve needle has until now remained elusive. In this work, we present high-speed ensemble neutron transmission imaging of an entire 8-hole gasoline direct injector operating at 200 bar, allowing for both visualization and quantification of the actuation dynamics including lift and wobble of the valve ball, oscillation and bending of the valve needle, lift, rocking, and bounce of the armature, compression of the springs, and radial swelling of the solenoid during energization. Because neutrons offer high penetration through the metal injector while also being sensitive to the 1H nuclei in fuel molecules, it is also possible to simultaneously see the fluid dynamics of the injection process, including filling of the sac volume, emanation of the spray through the nozzle holes and into the downstream gas, and the formation and evolution of fuel films on the tip of the injector and the walls of the spray container.