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A spark ignited (SI) engine and a direct injection (DI) diesel engine were studied using the Computational

Fluid Dynamics (CFD) code Fluent and validated against experimental data. The SI engine was studied for

the purpose of improving the accuracy of the thermal stress analysis of the engine components. The DI

engine was studied to validate an ignition delay model in Fluent 6.2.

A key element for thermal stress analysis of engine blocks and cylinder heads is an accurate representation

of the temperature distribution in the given component. In order to predict the temperature accurately,

spatially resolved thermal boundary conditions from the cylinder are required. For the SI engine studied,

the Zimont [1] model is used for the in-cylinder combustion and the heat transfer coefficient is time

averaged for subsequent thermal stress analysis. Pressure and burn rate data from Fluent were validated

against experiments. The calculated heat transfer coefficients show large spatial variation and thus confirm

that the traditional uniform heat transfer coefficient approach would give a far less accurate temperature

distribution and therefore a less accurate representation of the actual thermal stress for the engine

components.

Additionally, a single cylinder version of a Caterpillar 3400 series heavy duty DI diesel engine was

simulated using Fluent 6.2 and compared to published experimental data [2]. The objective was to validate

an ignition model in conjunction with the existing dynamic mesh and spray models against an established

data set consisting of six different load and speed conditions (modes) from a federal transient test

procedure. An additional focus of the work was the evaluation of the applicability of the current models for

predicting production of nitrogen oxides at high temperatures (thermal NOx).

Due to the high gas temperatures and highly turbulent flow inside the cylinder during SI combustion, the

temperatures and temperature gradients inside the engine components surrounding the combustion chamber

can be very high. The high temperature differences can result in high thermal stresses inside the engine

block and cylinder heads which, if not accounted for during the design process, can result in catastrophic

engine failure. Thus, a thermal stress analysis of the engine block and cylinder head is usually done to

ensure that the components are strong enough to endure stress levels under extreme conditions. For an

accurate stress analysis in engine blocks and cylinder heads, an accurate representation of the temperature

loading on the component is essential.

The straightforward computational approach to obtain the thermal stress information is to solve a coupled

transient conjugate heat transfer problem, consisting of in cylinder combustion coupled with the conduction

heat transfer and thermal stress computations in the block and head. To have sufficient resolution in the

gas phase for the combustion simulation along with adequate resolution in the solid to resolve the thermal

transients is a daunting problem which is, at the time of this writing, prohibitively expensive for most users

of CFD. Very accurate results can be obtained, however, from the simplification of decoupling the

combustion simulation from the thermal analysis.

To make sure the accuracy of the thermal analysis approaches the fully coupled solution, a good

representation of the thermal boundary conditions (i.e. heat transfer coefficients) for the thermal stress

analysis need to be determined from the gas side. One approach is to use an ad-hoc constant heat transfer

coefficient and reference temperature which is accurate only in an integral sense. In other words, a single

heat transfer coefficient is scaled to match the overall heat transfer from the engine, but spatial variations

are neglected. With Fluent 6.1, a transient engine combustion simulation is possible and therefore a more

accurate, spatially resolved heat transfer coefficient becomes a practical option.

Because of the highly transient nature of engine combustion, the heat transfer coefficient obtained from the

engine combustion simulation is necessarily transient. In the current work, however, a User Defined

Function (UDF) was used to export the time averaged heat transfer coefficient over the boundaries. The

heat transfer coefficient from the CFD analysis is imported into the structural Finite Element Analysis

(FEA) code where a steady state thermal analysis is performed. Using a steady FEA analysis of the stresses

in the engine further decreases the computational time, yet still accounts for nonuniform thermal loading.

Since only thermal information is needed for the engine combustion simulation mentioned above, a

relatively inexpensive combustion model capable of predicting heat release is sufficient. In the current

work, the Zimont [1] premixed turbulent combustion model in Fluent 6.1 is used which solves a progress

variable equation to predict the turbulent flame speed and the rate of energy release on a spatially resolved

basis. Although no species information is available for pollutant calculations, the model runs quickly on a

per cell basis so that the flow field can be well resolved without requiring excessive computational time. In

this model the fuel and air are perfectly premixed, which is an acceptable assumption for SI engines.

The CFD model used for this study has a mesh of approximately 250,000 cells at top dead center (TDC)

and 600,000 cells at bottom dead center (BDC). The run time for a 720 degree crank angle (CA)

simulation is approximately 160 hours on a 2.4 GHz Linux based PC with a single processor. The typical

setup time for such a case is approximately one working day.

To validate the model, results from the CFD were compared with crank angle resolved experimental data

for burned gas mass fraction. Figure 1 shows good agreement between the CFD and the experimentally

derived global burned gas mass fraction. Figure 2 shows the time averaged heat transfer coefficient for the

cylinder head and piston boundaries. As expected, the heat transfer coefficient on the surface of the

cylinder head is not uniform at all, especially at the exhaust valve seat region where the gas speed is high.

The exhaust valve seat area has a heat transfer coefficient more than a factor of ten higher compared to

other parts of the head, which correlates with a significant increase in thermal stress in that region. The

piston, on the other hand, has relatively uniform heat transfer coefficient distribution because the velocity

near the surface is uniform in comparison to the exhaust valve seat area. This study shows the importance

of using CFD to obtain more accurate heat transfer coefficients for thermal stress analysis and that

solutions of this type can be obtained at reasonable computational expense.

Several in-cylinder specific models have been implemented into Fluent 6.2, among these are a spark model

for premixed engines, an autoignition model for knocking in premixed engines and an ignition delay model

specifically for direct injection diesel engines. The spark model is based on the work by Lipatnikov [3] and

is compatible with the progress variable based Zimont models for premixed and partially premixed

combustion as implemented in Fluent. The knock and ignition delay models implemented in Fluent 6.2 are

based on a similar progress variable formulation, though without the turbulent flame speed closure terms.

Consider the following advection diffusion equation for the progress variable c:

∂ρc ∂

+ (ρu j c ) = ∂ ρDt ∂c + ρS c (1)

∂t ∂x j ∂x j ∂x j

0, t < t0

t =t dt

Sc = .

t =∫t τ

, t ≥ t0

0

Here, Dt is the turbulent diffusivity and both the density, ρ, and progress variable, c, have been Favre

averaged. The induction time, τ, comes from experimental correlations from several sources, two of which

are detailed below. It is assumed that ignition occurs when the progress variable reaches a value of one.

For engine knock, the following correlation from Douaud and Eyzat [4] is used:

3.402

ON 3800

τ = 0.01768 p −1.7 exp , (2)

100 T

where ON denotes the octane number, p the local pressure and T the local temperature in the cell. The

correlation gives an ignition delay in seconds, but is also of a fairly general form so that correlations from

other researchers can be used. The correlation for ignition delay for DI diesel engines is from Hardenburg

and Hase [5]:

1 1 21.2

0.63

τ = (0.36 + 0.22S p ) exp E − + , (3)

RT 17,190 p − 12.4

where Sp is the mean piston speed, E the apparent activation energy, R the universal gas constant and p and

T the local cell values of pressure and temperature, respectively. The expression for activation energy is

given by

EA 618,840

E= = ,

25 + CN 25 + CN

where CN is the Cetane number and EA the effective activation energy. Equation (3) gives the ignition

delay in crank angle degrees, however is converted to seconds during the calculation. A generalized

correlation of the form

EA

τ = AT a P b ON c RPM d Φ e exp , (4)

RT

is also available in Fluent, where A is the preexponential, ON the octane number, RPM the engine speed, Φ

the local fuel/air equivalence ratio, P the local pressure, T the local temperature, R the universal gas

constant and EA the activation energy. The form of equation (4) can fit a wide range of correlation types.

User defined function hooks are also available for correlations of arbitrary complexity.

For both the knock and ignition delay models, the source term for the ignition progress variable will not be

updated if the value of fuel in the cell is below a user definable cutoff value. In other words, the progress

variable can be thought of as representing the buildup of radical species which precipitate an ignition event.

The radical pool is fed by fuel breaking down at high temperatures and pressures, so without fuel, no

ignition occurs.

Though the knock and ignition delay models share the form for progress variable, the purpose of the knock

model is to release energy when knocking conditions are met. In the Zimont model in Fluent, the knock

event causes the progress variable to move towards the burned state. Local conditions are used to calculate

if energy release due to knock will occur, however the premixed combustion model is still fully active

during the calculation of knock.

The ignition delay model in contrast delays the computation of chemistry. No chemistry will be calculated

in a cell where the ignition species is not greater or equal to unity if the ignition delay model is activated.

Thus, the ignition delay model is appropriate for the Eddy Dissipation model where “mixed is burned” or

even for full chemistry transport models where only a high temperature mechanism is utilized. For

example, when calculating diesel combustion using a detailed high temperature mechanism, all the low

temperature chemistry is lumped together in a single progress variable and the high temperature chemistry

is calculated with another combustion model. Results for the Hardenburg ignition delay model combined

with the Eddy Dissipation model are shown in the following section.

A complete six-mode test cycle was simulated using Fluent 6.2. The engine is a fully instrumented

Caterpillar 3400 series of 2.44 liters with a 15:1 geometric compression ratio and a bore of 13.76 cm.

Further specific information regarding the engine can be found in Reference [2]. Engine running

conditions of each mode are summarized in Table 1. The diesel spray was described with a Lagrangian

particle based approach. A solid cone atomizer was used to model the nozzle and the Wave model [6] was

chosen to describe secondary breakup. Model constants of B1=30 and B0=0.61 were used for all

simulations. The fuel properties were approximated as those of liquid gasoil (C16H29). Ignition delay was

taken into account by the model based on the work of Hardenburg and Hase [4]. Model parameters for all

simulations were: pre exponential factor = 0.36, pressure exponent = 0.63, EA = 201123 J/mole and the

Cetane number = 40. The Eddy Dissipation model was chosen, with model constants of A=15 and B=0.5.

A constant injection velocity of 250 m/s is assumed, based on the nozzle size and total fuel mass flow rate

for mode 5. Calculations are continuing with spray velocity and mass flow rates which vary according to

experimental data.

Figure 4 shows the mass averaged cylinder pressure as a function of time, compared with the

experimentally obtained values for modes 1-6. Studying the plots reveal that all six calculated pressure

curves show a reasonable agreement with the experimental data. Among these, mode 5 has the best

agreement. Ignition delay is well represented and the peak pressure is predicted accurately for both

magnitude and phasing. In general, for all the other modes ignition delay is well predicted.

Note that ignition delay for modes 1 and 6 were slightly underpredicted, though the pressure at start of

injection is less well predicted for these modes as well. The pressure at the end of compression and start of

injection is also overpredicted for modes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Looking at the peak pressures after ignition,

mode 3 shows a significant underprediction of peak pressure, though the simulation of mode 6 shows an

overprediction of the peak pressure.

In a second phase of this study the applicability of the current FLUENT model for predicting production of

nitrogen oxides at high temperatures (thermal NOx) was investigated. The model uses the extended

Zeldovich mechanism to calculate production of thermal NOx, with local concentrations of O and OH

obtained by a partial equilibrium assumption. Turbulent fluctuations are taken into account by means of a

presumed probability density function (PDF) approach. The additional transport equation for the NOx mass

fraction for this model includes a transient term, making it applicable for time dependent emission studies.

Each of the six transient calculations corresponding to the modes of the FTP cycle was repeated including

the thermal NOx model. Figure 3 shows the calculated mass averaged mass fraction of nitrogen oxides and

cylinder pressure as a function of time for mode 5. As expected, the NOx plot has a peak around TDC (and

peak temperature) and “freezes” soon after at a slightly lower value. The rate at which the NOx values

approach equilibrium decreases rapidly with decreasing temperature, so equilibrium calculations alone are

not sufficient to describe the shape of the curve. Because the NOx model predicts the shape of the cylinder

averaged value of NOx in a physically realistic way, it is assumed that the Thermal model is acting

properly.

The predicted mass of nitrogen oxides at the end of the expansion stroke was converted to an hourly rate in

order to compare to previously published experimental data [2]. Table 2 summarizes the predicted and

experimental NOx rates for mode 1 to 6. The data shows that the simulations match the order of magnitude

of the measured values. In contrast to that the trends in NOx production between the different load points

are not consistent.

These discrepancies in emissions prediction are most probably caused by inaccurate predictions of pressure

temperature coupled with the high sensitivity of NOx production with respect to temperature. Some of the

discrepancy is due to inadequate characterization of the spray, part is due to some uncertainty in the initial

conditions in the cylinder at IVC and some is certainly due to using a very simple chemistry model that can

easily overpredict the local temperatures in the domain. Because NOx formation rates are highly sensitive

to temperature, significant increases in temperature can mean large, unphysical values in predicted

pollutant output.

A study utilizing Fluent 6.1 to successfully improve thermal stress analysis in engine components was

shown. This study showed a practical way of using CFD to obtain accurate thermal stress analysis of

engine components with modest computational resources. Next, a model for ignition delay was presented

and validated using a prototype version of Fluent 6.2. The agreement with measured ignition delay values

was good over a wide range of loads and speeds with minimal user input. Thus, that set of simulations has

proven that the range of models in Fluent 6.2 is capable of in-cylinder simulations with combustion. The

NOx study points to a clear path for further work to improve emission predictions. The next step in the in-

cylinder simulations is to focus on improving the prediction of pressure around the start of injection by

improving the assessment of initial conditions and evaluating heat transfer models. Accounting for time

dependent variations in flow rate and velocity of the fuel spray is also essential in obtaining a good

representation of DI diesel combustion. Additionally, an assessment of the effect of spatial resolution

needs to be done, as well as an assessment of the effect of more advanced combustion models on local

temperatures and resulting emissions output.

References:

[1] Zimont, V.L. “To computations of turbulent combustion of partially premixed gases, chemical physics

of combustion and explosion processes. Combustion of multi-phase and gas systems.” Chernogolovka,

OIKhF, 1977 pp 77-80 (Russian)

[2] Montgomery, D. and Reitz, R. D., “Six Mode Cycle Evaluation of the Effect of EGR and Multiple

Injections on Particulate and NO Emission from a DI Diesel Engine”, SAE 960316, 1996

[3] Lipatnikov, A.N., Chomiak, J. “Turbulent flame speed and thickness: phenomenology, evaluation and

application in multi-dimensional simulations”, Prog. In Enrg. & Comb. Sci. 28, 2002, pp 1-74

[4] Douaud, A. M. and Eyzat, P. “Four-Octane-Number Method for Predicting the Anti-Knock Behavior of

Fuels and Engines”, SAE 780080, SAE Transactions, v87, 1978

[5] Hardenburg H. O., and Hase, F. W., “An Empirical Formula for Computing the Pressure Rise Delay of

a Fuel from its Cetane Number and from the Relevant Parameters of Direct-Injection Diesel Engines”,

SAE 790493, 1979

[6] Reitz, R. D., “Modeling Atomization Processes in High-Pressure Vaporizing Sprays”, Atomization and

Spray Technology 3 (1987) 309-337

Tables and Figures:

Running Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4 Mode 5 Mode 6

condition

speed [rpm] 750 953 1074 1657 1668 1690

load [%] 0 25 75 100 50 25

θINJ -8.0 -0.5 5.5 7.5 2.0 -1.0

Table 2: Calculated and Measured NOx rates for the six-mode test cycle [2]

Running Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4 Mode 5 Mode 6

condition

NOcalc. [g/hr] 4.51 293.04 515.21 1196.30 656.52 692.85

NOmeas. [g/hr] 14 134.2 195.1 145.1 104.7 104.6

1

Comb. Const = 1.4, Low

Heat of Combustion

0.9 Dyno Data

0.8

0.7

Mass Fraction Burnt

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

680 690 700 710 720 730 740 750 760 770

CRANK ANGLE

Figure 2. Contours of heat transfer coefficient on the cylinder head (l) and piston (r)

0.0250 8000000

7000000

0.0200

6000000

Mass Fraction of NO

5000000

0.0150

4000000

0.0100 3000000

Mass fraction of NO

Pressure 2000000

0.0050

1000000

0.0000 0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03 0.035

Time [s]

Figure 3: Mass averaged mass fraction of NO and cylinder pressure for the mode 5 CAT engine

simulation

Mode 1 Mode 2

Mode 3 Mode 4

Mode 5 Mode 6

Figure 4: Mass averaged cylinder pressure for the six mode CAT engine simulation (data shown as

symbols – computations shown as lines)

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