Particle image velocimetry applied to internal combustion engine in-cylinder flows
Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is now emerging as a powerful tool for the investigation of unsteady fluid mechanics. At the same time, the study and optimisation of in-cylinder flow processes in automotive Internal Combustion (IC) engines is of increasing importance in the design of improved combustion systems with lower emissions and favourable power and efficiency characteristics. This thesis describes the development and application of PIV as a routine diagnostic tool for the investigation of in-cylinder flows in a production geometry single cylinder research engine exhibiting "barrel swirl" or "tumbling" in-cylinder fluid motion. The work has involved the design and installation of a complete PIV engine facility, based around a four-valve, four-stroke Rover research engine equipped with piston crown optical access and a glass cylinder liner. Novel techniques for the on-line monitoring of important experimental parameters have been developed which permit the reliable acquisition of high spatial resolution PIV data from both horizontal and vertical measurement planes within the engine cylinder. A novel optical correction technique has been developed to control the severe particle image degradation which was experienced when imaging vertical planes within the glass cylinder. A simple means for selection of an appropriate corrective lens for this application is described, together with an experimental evaluation of the lens performance. A representative set of PIV images and data from both horizontal and vertical planes are then presented. These have been selected from a comprehensive set of flow mapping experiments in the motored engine. The data are discussed with reference to the work of others in engines of similar geometry and have shed new light on the detailed processes involved in the formation and breakdown of barrel swirl. Initial PIV measurements ahead of a flame under part load, skip fired conditions have also been made in the engine. This has demonstrated the possibility of investigating incylinder flow behaviour under conditions approaching those in a fully firing, production geometry optical engine. Finally, limitations in the PIV technique employed in this work and methods of overcoming them are described and the prospects for further work are discussed.