Bittle, Joshua (2010-12). Two-stage Ignition as an Indicator of Low Temperature Combustion in a Late Injection Pre-mixed Compression Ignition Control Strategy. Master's Thesis.
Internal combustion engines have dealt with increasingly restricted emissions requirements. After-treatment devices are successful in bringing emissions into compliance, but in-cylinder combustion control can reduce their burden by reducing engine out emissions. For example, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are diesel combustion exhaust species that are notoriously difficult to remove by after-treatment. In-cylinder conditions can be controlled for low levels of NOx, but this produces high levels of soot potentially leading to increased particulate matter (PM). The simultaneous reduction of NOx and PM can be realized through a combustion process known as low temperature combustion (LTC). In this study, the typical definition of LTC as the defeat of the inverse relationship between soot and NOx is not applicable as a return to the soot-NOx tradeoff is observed with increasing exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). It is postulated that this effect is the result of an increase in the hot ignition equivalence ratio, moving the combustion event into a slightly higher soot formation region. This is important because a simple emissions based definition of LTC is no longer helpful. In this study, the manifestation of LTC in the calculated heat release profile is investigated. The conditions classified as LTC undergo a two-stage ignition process. Two-stage ignition is characterized by an initial cool-flame reaction followed by typical hot ignition. In traditional combustion conditions, the ignition is fast enough that a cool-flame is not observed. By controlling initial conditions (pressure, temperature, and composition), the creation and duration of the cool-flame event is predictable. Further, the effect that injection timing and the exhaust gas recirculation level have on the controlling factors of the cool-flame reaction is well correlated to the duration of the cool-flame event. These two results allow the postulation that the presence of a sufficiently long cool-flame reaction indicates a combustion event that can be classified as low temperature combustion. A potential method for identifying low temperature combustion events using only the rate of heat release profile is theorized. This study employed high levels of EGR and late injection timing to realize the LTC mode of ordinary petroleum diesel fuel. Under these conditions, and based on a 90 percent reduction in nitric oxide and no increase in smoke output relative to the chosen baseline condition, a two part criteria is developed that identifies the LTC classified conditions. The criteria are as follow: the combustion event of conventional petroleum diesel fuel must show a two-stage ignition process; the first stage (cool-flame reaction) must consume at least 2 percent of the normalized fuel energy before the hot ignition commences.