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Cyclically resolved flame and flow imaging in an alcohol fuelled SI engine

Moslemin Koupaie, Mohammadmohsen; Cairns, Alasdair; Xia, Jun; Vafamehr, Hassan; Lanzanova, Thompson

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Mohammadmohsen Moslemin Koupaie

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Chair in Combustion Engineering

Jun Xia

Thompson Lanzanova


The work was concerned with improving understanding of the interaction of the bulk in-cylinder flow with turbulent premixed flame propagation when using varied fuels including iso-octane, ethanol or butanol. The experiments were performed in a single cylinder research engine equipped with a modern central direct injection combustion chamber and Bowditch style optical piston. Results were obtained under typical part-load engine operating conditions. High speed cross-correlated particle image velocimetry was undertaken at 1500 rpm under motoring conditions with the plenum pressure set to 0.5 bar absolute, with the horizontal imaging plane fixed 10 mm below the combustion chamber “fireface”. Comparisons were made to CFD computations of the flow. Complementary flame images were then obtained via natural light (chemiluminescence) over multiple engine cycles. The flame images revealed the tendency of the flame to migrate towards the hotter exhaust side of the combustion chamber, with no complementary bulk air motion apparent in this area in the imaging plane. In terms of fuel effects, the addition of 16% butanol to iso-octane resulted in marginally faster combustion. Fastest combustion was observed with ethanol, in good agreement with laminar burning velocity correlations within the literature. The ethanol could be seen to offset the tendency of migration of the flame toward the exhaust walls under the fixed spark timing conditions. This exhaust migration phenomenon has been noted previously by others in optical pent-roofed engines but without both flow and flame imaging data being available. The results may imply that the spark plug should ideally be biased further towards the intake side of the chamber if the flame is to approach the intake and exhaust walls at similar times resulting in symmetrical flame propagation, reduced premature wall quenching and hence increase combustion stability and thermal efficiency. Such a layout is typically not preferred due to the priority given to the central fuel injector (and associated cooling jacket) location and maximizing the size of the inlet valves for improved volumetric efficiency.


Moslemin Koupaie, M., Cairns, A., Xia, J., Vafamehr, H., & Lanzanova, T. (2019). Cyclically resolved flame and flow imaging in an alcohol fuelled SI engine. Fuel, 237, 874-887.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 10, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 17, 2018
Publication Date 2019-02
Deposit Date Oct 18, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 18, 2019
Journal Fuel
Print ISSN 0016-2361
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 237
Pages 874-887
Keywords Fuel Technology; Organic Chemistry; Energy Engineering and Power Technology; General Chemical Engineering
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Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Cyclically resolved flame and flow imaging in an alcohol fuelled SI engine; Journal Title: Fuel; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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