The effect of compression ratio on the performance of a direct injection diesel engine
This thesis considers the effect of compression ratio on the performance of a direct injection diesel engine. One aspect of engine performance is considered in great detail, namely the combustion performance at increased clearance volume. This aspect was of particular interest because variable compression ratio (VCR) systems normally operate by varying the clearance volume. The investigation relied upon results obtained both from experimental and computer simulating models. The experimental tests were carried out using a single-cylinder direct-injection diesel engine, under simulated turbocharged conditions at a reduced compression ratio. A number of one-dimensional computer models were developed; these simulate the induction and compression strokes, and the fuel spray trajectories in the presence of air swirl. The major objectives of the investigation were: to assess the benefits of VCR in terms of improvements in output power and fuel economy; to assess the effects on combustion of increased clearance volume, and investigate methods for ameliorating resulting problems; develop computational models which could aid understanding of the combustion process under varying clearance volume conditions. It was concluded that at the reduced compression ratio of 12.9:1 (compared to the standard value of 17.4:1 for the naturally-aspirated engine), brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) could be increased by more than 50%, and the brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) could be reduced by more than 20%. These improvements were achieved without the maximum cylinder pressure or engine temperatures exceeding the highest values for the standard engine. Combustion performance deteriorated markedly, but certain modifications to the injection system proved successful in ameliorating the problems. These included: increase in the number of injector nozzle holes from 3 to 4, increase in injection rate by about 28%, advancing injection timing by about 6°CA. In addition, operation with weaker air fuel ratio, in the range of 30 to 40:1 reduced smoke emissions and improved BSFC. Use of intercooling under VCR conditions provided only modest gains in performance. The NO emission was found to be insensitive to engine operating conditions (fixed compression ratio of 12.9:1), as long as the peak cylinder pressure was maintained constant. Engine test results were used in order to assess the accuracy of four published correlations for predicting ignition delay. The best prediction of ignition delay with these correlations deviated by up to 50% from the measured values. The computer simulation models provided useful insights into the fuel distribution within the engine cylinder. It also became possible to quantify the interaction between the swirling air and the fuel sprays, using two parameters: the crosswind and impingement velocities of the fuel spray when it impinges on the piston-bowl walls. Tentative trends were identified which showed that high crosswind velocity coincided with lower smoke emissions and lower BSFC.