Mechanism Triggering Pre-Ignition Events and Ideas to Avoid and Suppress Pre-Ignition in Turbocharged Spark-Ignited Engines

Turbocharged spark-ignited engines may encounter stochastic events of premature ignition of the fuel-air mixture, termed as pre-ignition. Pre-ignition often leads to extremely high peak pressure and pressure oscillations, causing engine damage. A review of pre-ignition in historic times is done in this dissertation, and the similarities and differences compared to modern pre-ignition issue are brought forth. Experiments conducted with varying injection strategies yielded varying pre-ignition tendency. The pre-ignition tendency correlated with the charge cooling tendency and the mass of liquid fuel impinging on the cylinder liner and diluting the oil film. The diluted oil is trapped in the piston ring area and from time-to-time gets launched into the combustion chamber near top dead center. The fuel-oil mixture droplet may ignite the surrounding charge before the spark timing. Experiments conducted with varying exhaust back pressure showed dependence of pre-ignition tendency on in-cylinder temperature near top dead center, for cases when intake pressure is higher than exhaust pressures. For exhaust pressure higher than intake pressure, fuel wall impingement was critical to pre-ignition.
This research also devised ion-current based sensors for pre-ignition detection. Initial experiments were done with DC-power based ion-current sensor, which detected a pre-ignition event when a flame brushed past the sensor. There was a need of faster-response sensor with high signal-to-noise ratio, that would allow pre-ignition detection at its inception stage, thereby giving enough time to trigger an evasive action. In this regard, an AC-powered ion-current sensor was devised and patented. Sudden fuel enrichment at the time of pre-ignition detection was investigated as an evasive method. Various strategies were investigated for their pre-ignition suppression tendency. Split injection, water injection, Octane-on-Demand, injecting different fluids in late compression stroke and dual fuel operation with gasoline and methane were found to be highly effective at suppressing pre-ignition completely. Use of ethanol in blends with different FACE gasolines is investigated to suggest fuel effects on pre-ignition. The strategies were successful at either reducing the mass of liquid fuel impinging the liner, reducing the in-cylinder temperature near top dead center or reducing the potential of residual gas content to trigger pre-ignition in the next cycle.

Singh, E. (2019). Mechanism Triggering Pre-Ignition Events and Ideas to Avoid and Suppress Pre-Ignition in Turbocharged Spark-Ignited Engines. KAUST Research Repository.


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