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Title: A study of flame development with isooctane alcohol blended fuels in an optical spark ignition engine
Author: Moxey, Benjamin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 321X
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2014
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The work was concerned with experimental study of the turbulent flame development process of alcohol fuels, namely ethanol and butanol, in an optically accessed spark ignition research engine. The fuels were evaluated in a single cylinder engine equipped with full-bore overhead optical access operated at typical stoichiometric part-load conditions with images captured using high-speed natural light imaging techniques (or chemiluminescence). The differences in flame development between the fuels was analysed to understand better the impact of high and low alcohol content fuels on combustion. Advanced image analysis, in conjunction with Ricardo WAVE simulation, allowed for the conclusion that the faster burning exhibited by ethanol was the result of the marginally higher laminar burning velocity providing a faster laminar burn phase and accelerating the flame into the turbulent spectrum thus reducing bulk flame distortion and better in-cylinder pressure development. Such physical reactions are often over-looked in the face of chemical differences between fuels. A further study into the variation of maximum in-cylinder pressure values was conducted focussing on iso-octane and ethanol. This study identified two phenomena, namely “saw-toothing” and “creep” in which cluster of cycles feed into one another. From this it became clear that the presence of high pressure during the exhaust process had a large influence on the following cycles. This is another often overlooked phenomenon of direct cycle-to-cycle variation whereby incylinder pressures during blowdown can dictate the duration, load or stability output of the following cycle. Finally the work investigated the impact on flame development of alcohol fuels when the overlap duration was altered. While the engine produced counterintuitive figures of residual gas, ethanol was confirmed as having greater synergy with EGR by displaying less impacted combustion durations c.f. iso-octane. Care should be taken however when analysing these results due to the unique valve configuration of the engine.
Supervisor: Cairns, A.; Zhao, H. Sponsor: Thomas Gerald Gray Charitable Trust ; School of Engineering and Design
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biofuels ; Optical engine ; Cyclic variation ; Flames ; ID thermodynamic analysis