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AUTOMOTIVE series, year XVIII, no.22(1)



B.Grnwald*, 2D. Ueberschr, 3Fl. Ivan.

Dsseldorf, Deutschland, 2Mrfelden Walldorf, Deutschland, 3 University of Piteti,
ABSTRACT: A recent work attracts attention to the difficulties of vehicle electrification. For mass
production it is predicted the building of an electric car with a battery range of maximum 100 km, but
the maximum limit of 30 km is not excluded /1/. A solution that is enjoying ever greater attention is the
hybrid propulsion.
This solution has great chances of application for a long time to come with regard to the Otto engine
as it can still be used independently, having not yet exhausted its qualities. At the moment the Otto
engine could use a combustion chamber that works according to the stratification principle of the airfuel mixture, given its capacity of ensuring the burning out of lean mixtures. In this work the authors
propose as a viable solution a combustion chamber with channels on the piston had /3/. This
combustion chamber adapts relatively easy and efficiently to the requirements of the combustion
process based on the mixture stratification concept. Its geometry, as well as its intensity and the
structure of the internal movements of the mixture can be partially optimized ever since the design
The proposed combustion chamber must be inevitably equipped with direct injection, both as a
functional requirement (a fuel jet enters the channel in the piston head after the closing of the
admission valve) as well as to satisfy the most severe norm of pollution emissions which is EURO 6.
The new combustion chamber concept with channels in the pistons head aims to perform the
stratification of the airfuel mixture in a new form in relation to the current solutions, combining the
movement of opposed swirls generated by the squishing surfaces between the cylinder head and the
piston with the tumble movement produced in the channels within the piston.
The work researches in detail the intensity of the swirls, the impact of the opposed swirls in the
channels, the formation of tumbles, their intensity and orientation, applying all the above to geometric
methods of control. The movement research within the cylinder was made with computer programs
and is highlighted in the related film and figures.
In the end a complex correlation is established between the combustion chambers properties and the
performances it can accomplish in regard to: the use of lean and very lean mixtures with beneficial
consequences for the fuel economy and the reduction of pollution emissions, the use of large
compression ratios and of the supercharge with minimum or no danger of knock, the great stability of
the spark ignition, the more efficient filling up of the cylinder. The work defines several precision
numeric criteria which allow the optimization of the combustion chamber.

KEY WORDS: combustion chamber, stratified mixture, tumble movement, swirls

movement, channels in the piston head
In a recent paper one draws attention to the difficulties encountered by the electrification of the car.
For a mass production, the realization of an electric car whose autonomy is at maximal of 100 km is
predictable. If one takes into account the fact that 1/3 of the cars are driven on less than 30 km
distances, then for Germany, the present market can be estimated to 1/3 of the total number of cars,

that is almost 14 millions. This could be possible if a public agreement for a small electric car would
exist (besides one or two classic cars). Even in the case of such an agreement, 2/3 of cars that will
have at least one Otto or Diesel engine /1/ would still be on the market.
A solution that is more and more favored is the one of the hybrid drive, which has chances to
be applied for a long time.
The supplies of the internal combustion engine have been highlighted by the developments in
the car building industry over the past 2 ... 3 decades. Even the EU standards evolution, which limit
the polluting emissions and CO2, has evolved from the initial EURO 1 standard to EURO 6 standard
which acts nowadays and in the future, showing the technical progress in the field, mainly due to
higher performances of the Otto and Diesel engine.
The authors wanted to outline the car future of the Otto engine, thus highlighting the
usefulness and efficiency of a new combustion chamber, which would point out the technical progress
in the field (direct fuel injection, supercharging, ratios electronic control, etc.). In this case the authors
ask themselves: what kind of combustion chamber should be paid attention to? Such a combustion
chamber should ensure a fundamental principle, namely the air-fuel mixture stratified, which means:
the spark ignition set-on, the forming of the first flame nucleus and its evolution during the first part of
the combustion, in rich mixture; the flame spread in the lean mixture during the second part of the
The air-fuel mixture stratification should ensure:
the combustion of the lean or relatively lean mixtures in order to reduce the indicated specific fuel
the reduction of the inclination to the knocking until its annulment;
the substantial increase of the compression ratio, as well as the use without restrictions of the
supercharging procedure, due to the knocking inclination;
the removal of the building tricks from the admission devices, which create a continuous swirl
movement in cylinder and the improving of the cylinder filling quality;
the qualitative control of the load, with partial or total opening of the throttle from the inlet channel;
the reduction of the NOx, CO, HC and PM polluting emissions
Given the efficiency of the stratification concept, the control of the stratification degree from the
design phase must be a requirement.
The authors propose as a solution for the Otto engine a combustion chamber with channels in the
piston head /3/. This combustion chamber can meet two fundamental requirements that underlie the
stratification concept, requirements that are available to the designer: controlling the geometry of the
combustion chamber and the setting of the intensity and the structure of the internal movement of the
mixture. The combustion chamber with channels in the piston head allows formulating several
perfection criteria that lead to its optimization.
The proposed combustion chamber must have direct injection in the channels, as an inevitable
working condition and also to satisfy the most severe polluting standard, namely E6. Unlike the
present solutions, where the fuel sprays interpenetrates the air in an unlimited manner, in the channel
combustion chamber they are obviously separated, they do not mix and their air feeding occurs wellordered and, consequently, is controllable. The concept of the combustion chamber with channels in
the piston head has in view to achieve the air-fuel mixture stratification in a new way that is different
from the present solutions, by combining the movement of the opposed swirls generated by the
squishing of air between surfaces the piston and the cylinder head and with tumble movement induced
from the pistons channels.
In the piston head, figure 1a, there are two or more opened radial identical channels, with
different geometric shapes, which extend from the center of the piston head to a certain distance at the
extremity of the piston head (imposed by technological or constructive requirements) and they are
distributed evenly around the cylinder axis. Figure 1b shows, as comparison, a cup combustion
chamber in the piston.


Figure 1. The combustion chamber in the piston head with the fuel sprays:
a. the original chamber; b. the cup combustion chamber in the piston
A radial channel is constructive defined by its depth hca, by its center open angle and its Vca volume.
By the even disposal of the radial channels, a homogeneous and equal distribution is obtained for the
fuel in the combustion chamber, which constitutes the premises for computing the mixture stratified
degree and its optimization, in the design phase. In comparison with the known combustion chambers,
the new one prevents movement of the working fluid in radial direction. In the new combustion
chamber an exclusively internal movement of the working fluid is generated in a tangential way,
caused by the squishing surfaces of the piston head between the two channels (figure 2) and the
corresponding cylinder head surfaces.

Figure 2. (continued)


Figure 2. The representation of the movements in the combustion chamber:

a. the longitudinal section through the channels; b. the opposed swirls movement in the
compression stroke; c. the opposed swirl movements; d. the airflows and the fuel spray.
Two gas swirls reach each channel, which moves in opposite ways in the perpendicular plane
on the cylinder axis, with angular speed s. At the impact of the two opposed gas swirls the features of
the engine fluid change. The swirl movement from the perpendicular plane on the cylinder axis
changes into a tumble movement around the longitudinal channel axis, which is normal on the cylinder
axis. Through the impact of two opposed swirls and the appearance of two opposed tumble
movements, which absorb the kinetic energy of swirls, a high intense movement is assured in the
channel and the air is lead well-ordered towards the fuel spray, being distributed equally and making a
homogeneous efficient mixture with the fuel, mainly or totally vaporized.
The injector is centrally placed in the combustion chamber (figure 3) and the number of
sprays is equal to the number of channels i. The spark plug is located just near the injector. The
intensity of the movement in the center of the combustion chamber and in front of the spark plug is
minimal, which fosters the flame nucleus occurrence and ensures a high stability of the ignition with a
minimal degree of cyclic dispersion. This particularity is very important for functioning at high loads
and engine speeds, unlike the present combustion chambers that limit mainly the engine speed. The
spread of the flame occurs simultaneously and identically in the channels.

Figure 3. The combustion chamber with channels, central spark plug and central injector


The intensities of the swirl and tumble movements have been determined with the help of two
computing models. A computing model based on flow differential equations was applied in the
computing program CFD Software Fire, designed by the AFL Graz Company, a program that has
been provided to the authors.
The program showed the organization way of the movements in cylinder, determined the
movement and the intensity of the squishing streams before entering the channel and then highlighted
a special structure of the channel streams, namely the two opposed tumble movements.

Figure 4. The structure of the tumble movements in the channel: a. the areas of minimal
movement are marked, as well as the dead zone on the bottom of the channel and the
centers of rotation of the tumble movements; b. a beak on the bottom of the channel to
mitigate the dead zone effect.
In figure 4a is shown the well-ordered movement of the tumble movements. The dead zone
of the movement has been marked at the bottom of the channel, as well as the presence of a rotation
center for each tumble movement in the channel. Figure 4b shows the building trick used by the
authors by processing a beak on the bottom of the channel in order to mitigate the dead zone effect.
The intensity of the movement when entering in the channel, for the angle RAC (Rotation Angle of the
Crankshaft) of 345o (15o BTDC before top dead center, in the compression stroke) is determined with
the help of the color scale, the maximum value being of approximately 50 m/s.
The second computing model was elaborated from the authors. The squishing effect is
determined by the two differential inequalities (1):
(dVk /dt ) < (dVs /dt) (a)
(dVk /dt) > (dVs /dt) (b)
The first inequality (a) expresses, for the compression stroke, that the reduction of volume dVk that is
based on the channels or corresponding to him in the elementary time dt, is less than the dV volumes
reduction, corresponding to the squishing surfaces (figure 5a); the second inequality expresses a
similar dependence but a reverse one, in the case of the expansion stroke.
The authors have found out the flow speed of the swirl entering the channel, namely vf (fig.
5b) in the compression stroke, with the help of the differential equations which determine the fluid
flow dvf /dt through the imaginary surface Ai (2a) which rests on the channels ridge and the
corresponding volume reduction dVs (V is the current volume of the cylinder):
dVf = Ai vf dt (a)
dVf = (1/2i ) (Vk / V) dVs (b )
In the case of the expansion stroke, a symmetrical speed variation is obtained vf related to the
t.d.c (top dead center). For comparison, the instantaneous speed of the piston was presented vp and the
average piston speed vpm. (The calculations have been made for the reference cylinder of an engine
with the following data: bore x stroke (D x S) = 90 x 90 mm; piston displacement of a cylinder: VS =


573 cm3; compression ratio: = 21; the number of channels in the piston head: i = 2; the protection
clearance of the piston: j = 1 mm; the engine speed: n = 4000 min-1).

Figure 5. a. The variation of the characteristic volumes during the compression stroke.

Figure 5. b. The swirl movement speed vf when entering in the channel, the pistons
instantaneous speed vp and the pistons average speed vpm.
It can be noticed that the swirl speed before entering in the channel increases up to a
maximum value vf max (58 m/s), which occurs near the t.d.c. (approximately 100 RAC) and which
determines the swirl movement intensity. The authors propose as a relative evaluation criterion of the
movement intensity the following speed ratio:
IRv = vf max / vpm,
Criteria that could have been evaluated from the designing phase
In the present case, it is obtained: IRv = (58/12) = 4,83.
The authors model highlights a feature of the movements in cylinder, which has a
fundamental implication in ignition organizing and developing, namely it shows that at t.d.c the
cylinder internal movements changes: in the compression stroke the air gets into the channel step by
step, reacting partially or totally with the fuel; In t.d.c the flow is reversed, the channel mixture now
made up of burning gases and perhaps fuel vapors leave the channel. This fact is decisive for the
combustion control. Thus, one distinguishes two combustion phases: in the first one, the combustion
of a rich mixture occurs in the channel the fuel dose is entirely or almost entirely in the channel at


the moment of the spark set-on. The flame nucleus that appears in the rich mixture in front of the spark
plug spreads through the flame front into the rich mixture in the channel, prepared previously by the
tumble movements and the fuel spray. The excess air coefficient in the channel varies from a minimal
value (ca) min up to a corresponding one of the t.d.c, (k)tdc, which will be considered as a reference. In
the second phase, the flame spreads in the entire cylinder, and the combustion develops until it ends in
a lean mixture. The existence of two distinct phases in the original combustion chamber, clearly
distinguishes this solution from those where the combustion occurs as a whole.
We suppose that inside the cylinder the global air coefficient is 1.2. The air amount that reaches
in the channels until the end of the compression is proportional with the ratio between the volume of
all the channels iVca and the combustion chamber volume Vc, ratio which reaches 0.70.9 and
depends on the compression ratio and on the protection clearance of the piston at t.d.c. For the global
fuel dose that exists in the channel, an air mass will be available up to t.d.c. ensuring a dosage of 1.2 x
(0.70.9) = 0.841.08 and for the rest of the combustion, obviously 1.2. This type of combustion
organization has consequences on the good indicated efficiency, as well as on the polluting emissions.
The stratification effect is evaluated through the difference str (relation 4a) between the
global air excess coefficient gl, namely the available air mass in the cylinder in proportion to the
available fuel dose and the air excess coefficient of the mixture in the channel at t.d.c. (k)tdc, that is:
str = gl - (k)tdc
GStdc = str / gl = 1- (k)pmi / gl
where GStdc is a stratification degree chosen by the authors as a reference value (the relation 4b)
related to the t.d.c. state; in fact, it varies in the channel, from a maximum value to a minimal one. It
can be shown that the excess air coefficient ratio equals the corresponding volumes ratio; it results:
GStdc = 1 iVk / Vc
For (iVk /Vc ) = 0.7...0.9, a stratification degree results at t.d.c. for GStdc= 0.1...0.3, values which can
constitute a designing criteria. At the beginning of the combustion in the channel, GS can reach
0.6...0.7. The stratified degree can be controlled at partial loads either by changing the throttle position
or by completely opening it (qualitative control of the mixture). The stratification effect has to be
evaluated with other criteria taking into account the complex influences on the combustion.
It is admitted that the source of the production of the unburned hydrocarbons HC and of the
PM particles is represented by the contact between the burned gases and the cold surfaces. That is why
the authors propose to analyze the size of the surface of a combustion chamber and its thermal level.
In this sense, two non-dimensional criteria are proposed, (6a) and (6b):
GCc= (Sc )3 / 2 / Vc


GR ud = Sud / Sc (b)


The first criterion expresses the compactness degree of the combustion chamber, therefore the relative
size of the contact surface Sud with the air and the combustion gases, and the second criterion
expresses the relative degree of the wetted /cooled surface by the cooling liquid at t.d.c. Both
geometric criteria allow the comparison of the combustion chambers. The reduced value of the two
criteria expresses a better performance for the two above-mentioned substances. In the case of the
combustion chamber, from the specified numerical example it results: Vc = 28.6 cm3.
If the spherical combustion chamber of Heron type is taken into account for simplification
reasons, it results: GCc = 292 : 28.6 = 10.2. The value of GCc calculated this way is a reference value
for any real chamber having higher values.
It is useful to evaluate the size of the open surfaces of the channels. The relationship that
determines the speed of the squish movements when entering the channels is used:
vf = (1- 2 ) F ()vp
where is the the ratio of the open surfaces area of the channels iAca towards the area of the piston
head D2/4 and F is a function of several parameters, but independent of and defined by the
relationship 4.45 from /11/.
The maximum value of the speed vf is sought by imposing the condition:


(d (1- 2)/d ) = 0, which leads to 2 = 1/3 or (iAk / D2 /4) = 1/3 meaning that the area of the open
surfaces of all channels leads to the maximum swirl speed when its value is a third from the piston
head area, value which represents an optimization condition.
New perfecting criteria can still contribute to the optimization of the combustion chamber.
The combustion process in the channels in the piston head proposed by the authors can fulfill the
principle of the air-fuel stratification, which is an important requirement nowadays and in perspective
for the Otto engine. It can positively answer to the above mentioned requirements of the present paper:
a better indicated efficiency, less polluting emissions in all operating conditions, a better filling of the
cylinder with consequences on the maximum power, the power increase by supercharging and high
compressing efficiency. Other advantages have to be mentioned:
greater stability of ignition as the spark triggers in minimal turbulence environment, which
allows overcoming the ignition difficulties with actual procedures, which lead to the extinguishment of
the flame nucleus at high engine speeds and loads;
the functioning of the engine with lean and very lean mixtures can reduce the NOx
concentration in the beginning phase, entirely eliminating or simplifying the exhaust gases recirculation system;
a better fitting of the fuel spray characteristics with the channels geometry and the tumble
movements structure;
the contact of the mixture with hot surfaces in the channel in a higher proportion than with the
colder surface of the cylinder head (temperature effect on the limit layer thickness) that will lead to
reduced HC and PM concentrations, according to the very strict E6 standard;
the possibility to realize a two-stroke Otto engine with valves, due to the intense internal
movements which reduce the formation time of the mixture and combustion, which allows the
increase of the engine speed of the two-stroke engine;
the intense swirl and tumble movements could ensure the formation of a homogeneous air-fuel
mixture, which would allow re-opening the subject of the combustion process known as the HCCI
(Process Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition).
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