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Fundamental Interactions in Gasoline Compression Ignition Engines with Fuel Stratification


Transportation accounted for 28% of the total U.S. energy demand in 2011, with 93% of U.S. transportation energy coming from petroleum. The large impact of the transportation sector on global climate change necessitates more-efficient, cleaner-burning internal combustion engine operating strategies. One such strategy that has received substantial research attention in the last decade is Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI). Although the efficiency and emissions benefits of HCCI are well established, practical limits on the operating range of HCCI engines have inhibited their application in consumer vehicles. One such limit is at high load, where the pressure rise rate in the combustion chamber becomes excessively large.

Fuel stratification is a potential strategy for reducing the maximum pressure rise rate in HCCI engines. The aim is to introduce reactivity gradients through fuel stratification to promote sequential auto-ignition rather than a bulk-ignition, as in the homogeneous case. A gasoline-fueled compression ignition engine with fuel stratification is termed a Gasoline Compression Ignition (GCI) engine. Although a reasonable amount of experimental research has been performed for fuel stratification in GCI engines, a clear understanding of how the fundamental in-cylinder processes of fuel spray evaporation, mixing, and heat release contribute to the observed phenomena is lacking. Of particular interest is gasoline's pressure sensitive low-temperature chemistry and how it impacts the sequential auto-ignition of the stratified charge.

In order to computationally study GCI with fuel stratification using three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and chemical kinetics, two reduced mechanisms have been developed. The reduced mechanisms were developed from a large, detailed mechanism with about 1400 species for a 4-component gasoline surrogate. The two versions of the reduced mechanism developed in this work are: (1) a 96-species version and (2) a 98-species version including nitric oxide formation reactions. Development of reduced mechanisms is necessary because the detailed mechanism is computationally prohibitive in three-dimensional CFD and chemical kinetics simulations.

Simulations of Partial Fuel Stratification (PFS), a GCI strategy, have been performed using CONVERGE with the 96-species reduced mechanism developed in this work for a 4-component gasoline surrogate. Comparison is made to experimental data from the Sandia HCCI/GCI engine at a compression ratio 14:1 at intake pressures of 1 bar and 2 bar. Analysis of the heat release and temperature in the different equivalence ratio regions reveals that sequential auto-ignition of the stratified charge occurs in order of increasing equivalence ratio for 1 bar intake pressure and in order of decreasing equivalence ratio for 2 bar intake pressure. Increased low- and intermediate-temperature heat release with increasing equivalence ratio at 2 bar intake pressure compensates for decreased temperatures in higher-equivalence ratio regions due to evaporative cooling from the liquid fuel spray and decreased compression heating from lower values of the ratio of specific heats. The presence of low- and intermediate-temperature heat release at 2 bar intake pressure alters the temperature distribution of the mixture stratification before hot-ignition, promoting the desired sequential auto-ignition. At 1 bar intake pressure, the sequential auto-ignition occurs in the reverse order compared to 2 bar intake pressure and too fast for useful reduction of the maximum pressure rise rate compared to HCCI. Additionally, the premixed portion of the charge auto-ignites before the highest-equivalence ratio regions. Conversely, at 2 bar intake pressure, the premixed portion of the charge auto-ignites last, after the higher-equivalence ratio regions. More importantly, the sequential auto-ignition occurs over a longer time period for 2 bar intake pressure than at 1 bar intake pressure such that a sizable reduction in the maximum pressure rise rate compared to HCCI can be achieved.

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