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63

An experimental and analytical examination of the


combustion period for gas-fuelled spark ignition
engine applications
S O Bade Shrestha and G A Karim*
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Abstract: A predictive procedure is described for determining the effective time period needed to
complete the energy release by combustion from the moment of ame initiation by a spark to the
completion of ame propagation in a spark ignition engine while using a number of gaseous fuels and
some of their mixtures. These predicted values of the combustion period when used in a relatively
simple modelling procedure can produce predicted values of key engine performance parameters that
compare well with the corresponding experimentally obtained values.
Keywords:

combustion duration, ignition lag, energy release, spark ignition engine

NOTATION
A, B
ATDC
BTDC
C, C, C@
CFR
CR
dc
m
MBT
ny
N
P
Sf
Sp
T
TDC
V
y

constants
after top dead centre
before top dead centre
constants
cooperative fuel research
compression ratio
effective ame propagation distance
mass
minimum timing for best torque
polytropic index
engine rotational speed (r/min)
cylinder pressure
ame speed
average piston speed
temperature (K)
top dead centre position
volume
fuel molar fraction

y
Dyc
Dyc,m
ye.c.
ye.i.
Dyig

crank angle (deg)


combustion duration
combustion duration for a mixture
end of combustion duration (deg)
end of ignition lag (deg)
ignition lag

The MS was received on 18 August 1999 and was accepted after


revision for publication on 8 March 2000.
*Corresponding author: Department of Mechanical Engineering, The
University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta,
Canada T2N 1N4.
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fuel equivalence ratio

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f

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Subscripts
b
c
f
i
ig
l
m
max
min
o
r
st

burned
combustion, end of combustion
fuel
initial
ignition lag
lean mixture limit
mixture
maximum
minimum
initial or intake conditions
rich mixture limit
spark timing

INTRODUCTION

Many of the numerous models that have been developed


over the years for the prediction of key performance
parameters of spark-ignited combustion engines tend to
be zero dimensional, avoiding the necessity of modelling
the complex ame propagation process while using
relatively simple combustion submodels. These models,
which are much simpler than those more recently
developed multidimensional computational uid dynamics (CFD) based models, are eminently suitable for
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S O BADE SHRESTHA AND G A KARIM

incorporation into complex optimization and cyclic


variational predictive procedures of various features of
engine performance.
The present contribution describes an experimentally
based simple model for predicting the thermal consequences of ame propagation in gas-fuelled spark-ignited
engines. It was shown elsewhere [1] that this model can
be incorporated into a comprehensive model for predicting quantitatively various features of engine behaviour
including the effect of changes in fuel composition and
the incidence of knock.

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE

It has been shown through the use of relatively simple

Fig. 1

thermodynamic analysis of the experimentally obtained


pressuretime diagrams that a number of important
performance parameters can be deduced such as those
indicating the apparent temporal variations of the mass
burned and effective duration of the combustion process.
Figure 1 shows typical variations of burned mass fraction
and its corresponding rate of change for different spark
timings obtained in a methane-fuelled spark-ignited
variable compression ratio, single-cylinder cooperative
fuel research (CFR) engine of 82.5 mm bore and
114.3 mm stroke operating at wide open throttle conditions [2]. Combustion took place over a period that
started somewhat later than spark discharge (i.e. after an
ignition lag), when detectable thermal energy just began
to be released owing to ame kernel development and
ended with the termination of ame propagation having
consumed the entire mixture. The area enclosed by the

Typical experimentally derived variations of burned mass and the rate of change of burned mass in a
CFR engine for different spark timings [2]

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65

corresponding energy release rate diagram would represent the total effective energy released by combustion.
Throughout, the cylinder pressuretime variations were
obtained by using a piezoelectric pressure transducer
with a data acquisition system. The fuel was metered with
choked nozzles and introduced outside of the cylinder
head into the air stream so as to produce homogeneous
fuelair mixtures.
A variety of approaches have been developed for
evaluating the combustion duration and ignition lag from
the pressure temporal diagrams. These approaches can, in
principle, be used equally for compression ignition type
engines as well. The approach used to obtain the results
shown in this paper is based on evaluating the temporal
changes in the apparent polytropic index for the observed
pressure values and the corresponding volume [3], i.e.
ny

V dP
PdV

where ny is the instantaneous polytropic index and dP and


dV represent the change of the cylinder pressure and
volume across a small interval of time, while P and V are
the mean values of pressure and volume for that same
interval. The end of the ignition lag will then be
associated with a rapid increase in the value of the index,
ny, whereas the end of energy release by combustion will
be associated with the rst occasion of its approaching a
relatively constant value, i.e. that of a polytropic
expansion involving the products of combustion. An
example of such an approach is shown in Fig. 2, where
typical combustion duration and ignition lag are
indicated.
This approach is superior to the plotting of log PVny,
which is much less sensitive to changes in volume and
pressure during the combustion process. Its entire value
varies only little during the whole process. On the other
hand, because of piston motion and energy release, the
variation of ny can be potentially from a negative value to
positive in nity, as shown in Fig. 2. It is an extremely
sensitive, yet very simple, parameter that may be used to
account for heat transfer variation, pre-ignition activity,
mass leakage, etc., during compression and expansion.
Statistical examination of the variations in combustion time for any operating condition is thus possible and
can provide a useful investigational tool. Figure 3 shows
the variations in combustion duration for 100 consecutive cycles in a CFR spark ignition engine for two
equivalence ratios where the lean mixture produced
longer periods with higher variations than the stoichiometric.

ANALYTICAL MODEL

The examination of a very large number of combustion


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Fig. 2

Typical variations of polytropic index with crank


angle. The combustion duration, Dyc , and ignition lag,
Dyig , are shown

rate diagrams such as those shown in Fig. 1 for a wide


range of operating conditions indicated that the shape of
these diagrams tends to be similar [2, 4]. Functions
having different shapes may be suggested to represent the
mass burning rates in spark ignition engines such as
triangular, sine and Weibe-type functions [5]. A simple
triangular function was chosen to correlate adequately the
mass burning rate data as shown typically in Fig. 4 [2, 4],
where the base corresponds to the combustion duration

Fig. 3

The frequency of distribution of combustion duration,


Dyc , for different equivalence ratios at a compression
ratio of 8.5:1, spark timing of 20 BTDC and initial
temperature of 294 K
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S O BADE SHRESTHA AND G A KARIM

zones for different engine speeds, intake temperature,


intake pressure, spark timing and fuel. The effects of
changes in some design parameters such as bore diameter
and compression ratio can also be considered [2, 6, 7].

3.1

Combustion duration

The variations in combustion duration with equivalence


ratio tend to be similar to that shown in Fig. 5, which is
consistent with the typical variations of the turbulent
ame speed with equivalence ratio, since the duration is
proportional to the inverse of the averaged ame speed
[7]. Moreover, the operational equivalence ratio limits
are associated with extremely long combustion periods.
Karim and Klat [8] and Badr et al. [9] found that the lean
limit, f1, is approximately a linear function of the mean
mixture temperature at the moment of spark discharge
given by [10]
Fig. 4

A comparison between calculated and experimentally


derived mass burning rates

and the area is the known total mass burned, i.e.


Dm

2mo
s
Dyc

where
s

y ye:i:
ymax ye:i:

ye:c: y
s
ye:c: ymax

when ye:i: 4y4ymax


when ymax 4y4ye:c:

3
4

where ye.i., ye.c. and ymax are the crank angles at the end of
ignition lag, the end of the combustion period and the
location associated with maximum mass burning rate
respectively. The last of these varies slightly with
operating condition and engine but may be assumed to
be at around approximately two-thirds of the period
based on observations made in the CFR engine. Other
viable distributions, of course, can be easily used.
However, these tend to represent usually only moderately
small shifts that tend to change only very little the mode
of predicted pressuretime development.
The approach described for the combustion energy
release was incorporated with a relatively simple two-zone
quasi-dimensional model described by Bade Shrestha and
Karim [1] to calculate the key engine performance
parameters for a variety of operating conditions similar to
those found in the CFR spark ignition engine. The model
was shown to be capable of predicting key engine
performance parameters, such as the temporal variations
in cylinder pressure and the mean temperatures of the two
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f1 A1 Tst B1

where A1 and B1 are constants (found to be 1/50 000 and


0.071 for methane operation). Tst is the average calculated mixture temperature (K) at the moment of spark
discharge. Similarly, the rich operational limit, fr, is a
linear function of the difference between the mixture
temperature at the moment of spark discharge (Tst) and
the mixture temperature at intake conditions (To) [10],
i.e.
fr A2 Tst To B2

where A2 and B2 are constants (found to be 1/10 000 and


0.10 respectively). Most hydrocarbons tend to have
similar ame propagation characteristics in a spark ignition engine [11], especially within the same group, e.g.
paraf ns as shown in Fig. 5. Thus the combustion
duration can be correlated according to the following
relationship:

!
fmin f
f fmin

B exp p

7
Dyc A exp p
f f1
fr f

Dyc is the combustion duration in degrees for an


equivalence ratio of f. fmin is the equivalence ratio for
minimum combustion time and A and B are constants.
Since the minimum combustion period occurs around the
stoichiometric mixture (i.e. dDyc/dfjfmin 0) then

3
2 q
fmin f1 =fr fmin
5
p

A Dyc;min 4
1 fmin f1 =fr fmin

Dyc;min
p

1 f min f1 =fr fmin

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67

following equation [12]:


1=3

Dyc;min C

Fig. 5

Typical variations of experimentally derived combustion duration versus equivalence ratio in a CFR spark
ignition engine with methane

where Dyc,min is the minimum combustion duration,


which can be either measured experimentally or
estimated as follows.
There are two main factors affecting the combustion
duration in a spark ignition engine. The rst factor is the
cylinder geometry and size, which decide the effective
ame propagation distance, dc. The second factor is the
effective ame propagation speed, Sf:
Dyc;min f dc ; Sf

10

In a spark ignition engine, because of the motion of the


piston and the changing with time of temperature and
pressure, both dc and Sf vary during combustion. Various
simpli cations may be introduced to nd a correlation for
estimating the minimum combustion duration for a
certain engine and operating condition, particularly when
lean mixture operation is involved.
For example, an assumption that the ame propagation
1=3
distance dc is proportional to Vst is a reasonable
approximation during combustion, where Vst is the
combustion chamber volume at the time of spark
discharge, and thus depends on the spark timing and
the compression ratio. In this way an advanced spark
timing and a low compression ratio will lead to a longer
ame propagation path. Correlation of the corresponding
experimental data obtained from a CFR engine led to the
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Vst

CR1=2

f Sf

11

The apparent ame propagation speed, Sf, is an important


factor which in uences the value of the combustion
duration. For a given equivalence ratio and engine speed
Sf would depend on mixture temperature and pressure.
Since the ow in a spark ignition engine is strongly
turbulent, the ame propagation is also turbulent and it is
affected by the engine speed and nature of the turbulence
intensity and scale. Numerous research investigations
have been carried out of pre-mixed laminar ame
propagation in constant volume cells (e.g. reference
[13]). Some correlations for laminar ame propagation
have been developed. However, these correlations cannot
be applied directly to engine modelling mainly because
of the variable geometry of the combustion chamber and
the intensely turbulent nature of the ow in a running
engine. A general approach that proved to be effective is
to use the correlations for laminar ame propagation after
incorporating some appropriate corrections to t the
observed experimental engine data [4, 14].
Karim and Al-Himyary [15] developed a generalized
expression for the maximum ame propagation speed for
methane based on extensive experimental data obtained
by others under different operating conditions. They
found that the maximum burning speed occurs at an
equivalence ratio of around 1.036, corresponding to the
minimum combustion duration. This was quanti ed in
the empirical form
Sf ;max p0:457 exp746:8=T 6:193

12

where P and T are the instantaneous mixture pressure


(atm) and temperature (K) respectively and Sf,max is the
maximum ame propagation speed.
For a xed engine speed, it is reasonable to assume that
the maximum turbulent ame speed is proportional to
Sf,max. Thus, with the maximum burning speed according
to equation (12), the minimum combustion duration of
equation (11) may be expressed as
Dyc;min /

dc
Sf ;max

1=3

Vst

CR1=2

P0:457 e764:8=T

13

In this formula, P and T are the instantaneous mean


pressure and temperature of the mixture during combustion. They are unknown before the combustion process
calculation in a predictive model. However, the P and T
values at the moment of spark discharge are known.
Thus, some correction is needed to make this formula
usable for predicting the combustion duration. A
satisfactory form for methane operation was found to
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S O BADE SHRESTHA AND G A KARIM

be
1=3

Dyc;min C

Vst

CR1=2

P0:457 e764:8=T

14

The effects of turbulence on the combustion duration are


still to be discussed. It is known that the turbulent
characteristic velocity is usually a function of the mean
piston linear speed Sp [5] and it can be used to represent
turbulence effects. Hirst and Kirsch [16] found that
Dyc;min / Sp1=3

15

Utilizing this simple relationship yields the following


expression for the nal form of the minimum combustion
duration correlation:
1=3

Dyc;min C 0

Vst

1=2

CR

P0:457 e764:8=T Sp1=3

16

where C is a constant which depends on the cylinder


geometry and the spark plug location and Sp is the piston
speed. No doubt other correlations of experimentally
observed data can be derived. For example, a simpli ed
method to calculate the value of Dyc,min will be discussed
later in this paper. In any case, the value of Dyc,min in the
key relationships of equations (8) and (9) does not
necessarily need to be known accurately. Moreover, for
lean operation even an assumed negligibly small value
for Dyc,min at the stoichiometric equivalence ratio can
produce a reasonably workable approximation for the
value of Dyc as a function of f.
For any given set of operating conditions, from the
computations during the compression stroke, the mean
values of pressure and temperature at the moment of
spark discharge are known. Equation (16) gives the value
of the minimum combustion duration, while the lean and
rich operational limits can be found using the procedure
described earlier. The constants A and B can then be
calculated. By substituting these into equation (7), the
combustion duration can be predicted. This method for
estimating the combustion duration may be applied for
various operating conditions. Only one constant C needs
to be determined by measuring the combustion duration
once for the engine of interest. A typical comparison
between the estimated combustion duration values
calculated in accordance with this procedure and the
corresponding experimental values obtained in a CFR
engine operating on methane and air is shown in Fig. 6. It
can be seen, from these typical cases, that the combustion duration estimated according to the proposed
approach produces good agreement with experimentally
derived data.
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Fig. 6

3.2

A comparison between estimated combustion duration


versus equivalence ratio and experimental data from a
CFR spark ignition engine with methane for two spark
timings

Ignition lag

As mentioned earlier, the combustion process in a spark


ignition engine can be conceived to progress over two
primary stages, the ignition lag and the effective
combustion duration. When the spark is discharged, no
signi cant combustion energy release appears immediately since time is needed to initiate the nucleus of a
propagating ame kernel. The period of the ignition lag is
conceived to start at the moment of spark discharge and
ends at the time when a signi cant ame development
takes place involving a certain detectable amount of
burned mass and energy released. Usually, the mass of
the burned gas during the ignition lag is taken for
convenience as the criterion for the ignition lag length.
The amount has been considered to range from 1 to 5 per
cent of the total charge. Hires et al. [17] took 1 per cent of
total mass as the end of the ignition lag, while Hong [18]
considered 2 per cent as the end-point. Al-Himyary [4]
suggested 5 per cent mass consumption as the end of
ignition lag. In the present work, Al-Himyarys criterion
for ignition lag is used so that the model predictive results
can be compared with the mass of his experimentally
based diagnostic results.
In a spark ignition engine, the length of the ignition lag
is governed mainly by the chemical reaction activity and
the diffusive transport processes. Although most of the
details concerning the chemistry and uid mechanics of
the initial ame kernel growth in a spark ignition engine
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are not fully clear, the effects of several operational


parameters on the ignition lag have been investigated
[4, 19, 20]. It was found that among the many important
operational parameters in uencing the ignition lag length
are the equivalence ratio, piston speed, mixture temperature and pressure. To nd a correlation for the
variation of the ignition lag with operating conditions, a
similar procedure to that used for estimating the
combustion duration was adopted. Figure 7 shows a
typical plot of experimentally derived values of the
ignition lag with equivalence ratio [3] displaying
excessively long lags at the lean and rich limits. There
is also a minimum ignition lag that corresponds to the
fastest ame propagation for any operational conditions.
Accordingly, the variations of the ignition lag with
equivalence ratio can also be represented by a similar
exponential function to that of equation (7) obtained for
the combustion duration:

!
fmin f

Dyig Aig exp p


f fl

69

to the model for combustion period yields


" p

#
f min fl =fr fmin
p

18
Aig Dyig;min
1 fmin fl =fr fmin
Big

Dyig;min
p

1 f min fl =fr fmin

19

The value of the minimum ignition lag, Dyig,min, can be


found also by tting experimental data to the following
expression to produce acceptable agreement with the
corresponding experimental observations:
1=2 1=3

Dyig;min C 00

Tst Sp

CR1=2

20

where Dyig is the ignition lag length in degrees crank


angle and Aig and Big are constants. A similar approach

where C@ is a constant. Aig and Big may be derived from


equations (18) and (19). Hence, the ignition lag can be
found using equation (17). Figure 8 is a typical
comparison between the estimated ignition lag using
the approach described and the corresponding results of
experimental analysis [3]. It should be remembered that,
since the value of the ignition lag always tends to be quite
small relative to the length of the combustion duration, a
less precise estimate of the length of the ignition lag
would not produce signi cant errors in estimating engine
output parameters.

Fig. 7

Typical variations of experimentally derived ignition


lag with equivalence ratio in a CFR spark ignition
engine with methane

Fig. 8

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!
f fmin

Big exp p
fr f

17

A comparison between the estimated ignition lag and


experimental data from a CFR spark-ignited engine for
methane operation for two spark timings
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S O BADE SHRESTHA AND G A KARIM

3.3

Combustion duration and ignition lag for fuel


mixtures

The effect of the addition of common gaseous fuels such


as hydrogen, ethane or propane to methane on the
effective ame burning speed and performance of an
engine has been investigated [3, 21, 22]. Generally, there
appears to be no reliable simple model capable of
predicting the burning velocity of fuel mixtures in terms
of the corresponding values of their fuel components on
their own in air within a wide range of temperature,
pressure and composition, especially in relation to spark
ignition engine applications where fully turbulent conditions prevail throughout. Hence, any correlations for the
combustion duration and ignition delay of fuel mixtures
have to be based empirically on experimental data
obtained directly from measurements of the mixed fuels
in the engine. Furthermore, the combustion duration is
inversely proportional to the ame propagation speed
which might be viewed in the case of fuel mixtures as a
mean ame speed, where the contribution of each fuel
component of the mixture would be a function of its own
ame speed under similar conditions and its concentration in the mixture. A simple expression for the
combustion duration of a fuel mixture based on
experimental observations made in a CFR engine can
be given approximately as
1
y1
y2
y3


Dyc;m Dyc1 Dyc2 Dyc3

21

where yi is the mole fraction of the fuel component, i, in


the fuel mixture and Dyci is the corresponding combustion period or ignition lag for the engine when operating
with the component i on its own under the same
conditions. Dyc,m is the combustion period or ignition
lag for the mixture. To estimate the corresponding
operational limits of a mixture of fuels Le Chateliers
rule was shown to be applicable [7, 13].
A typical comparison between the estimated combustion duration and ignition lag with the corresponding
experimentally derived data [7] for mixtures of hydrogen
and methane in the CFR engine is shown in Fig. 9. Both
the combustion duration and the ignition lag as expected
were shortened as the amount of hydrogen in the fuel
mixtures was increased because of the faster combustion
characteristics of hydrogen in comparison with those of
methane. Similarly, the estimated combustion durations
and ignition lags for propanemethane and ethane
methane mixtures in Fig. 10 are presented along with
the corresponding experimental data. In these cases, the
values of the combustion duration and ignition lag did not
change substantially as the amount of propane or ethane
was changed in the fuel mixtures, re ecting the similar
combustion characteristics of these fuels with methane.
In Figs 9 and 10, the results shown were obtained using
equation (21) with known experimental values for the
Proc Instn Mech Engrs Vol 215 Part A

Fig. 9

Predicted variations of the combustion duration (top)


and the ignition lag (bottom) for two spark timings for
mixtures of CH4 and H2

combustion period of the individual fuels under similar


operating conditions. When no such experimental data
are available, then values may be estimated using the
approach described earlier with methane as a fuel. The
agreement between the predicted values of the period for
the fuel mixture and the corresponding experimental
values will then show a greater degree of deviation.
Thus, the model developed to estimate the mean
effective combustion duration and ignition lag for
methane operation may be extended for applications
involving gaseous fuels and their mixtures. Because of
the nature of the strong turbulent ow encountered within
spark ignition engines and the associated cyclic variations, in reality the combustion duration tends to uctuate
and be statistical in nature. Hence, the accurate prediction
of the combustion duration in a theoretical model, which
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Fig. 10

Comparison of the calculated combustion duration


(top) and ignition lag (bottom) with experimental
data for mixtures of ethanemethane or propane
methane for spark timings of 15 BTDC for ethane
methane and 10 BTDC for propanemethane
mixtures

71

combustion is equal to the pressure drop due to the


incremental increase in cylinder volume. This set of
conditions can be used to derive a value for the
combustion duration using the two-zone predictive model
and will represent Dyc,min at that set of operating
conditions. This will enable the subsequent calculation
of the combustion duration for other operating conditions
using equations (7), (8) and (9).
As a typical example, the crank angle at the maximum
pressure for the best power output with an MBT of 27.5
BTDC at the operating condition of 8.5:1 compression
ratio, initial room temperature and atmospheric pressure
in a spark ignition CFR engine with the fuel methane was
found to be around 10 ATDC [3, 23]. Accordingly, the
predicted values of the combustion duration using this
simpli ed approach show good agreement in Fig. 11 with
the corresponding experimental values [3, 23]. In these
simpli ed calculations the ignition lag period may be
neglected, since it tends to be particularly small around
these fast burning conditions. As can be seen the
difference between the combustion durations calculated
from the model and those when using this simpli ed
approach was small and appeared to be less than 3 per
cent for the case considered. Hence, both methods
produced good agreement with the corresponding
experimental values indicating an error of less than 9
per cent for the full model and 13 per cent for the
simpli ed approach except for the very lean and rich
near-limit operations. Moreover, even the substitution of
the values of the operational limits of the engine (when
such data were unavailable) with estimated values
corresponding to the ammability limits of the same fuel

is not only dif cult but also unavailable at present, may


be regarded to be unnecessary for predicting engine
performance parameters with gaseous fuel operation.

3.4

An alternative method for estimating the


combustion duration

A simpli ed method for the estimation of the combustion


duration is needed for use in cases where no experimental
information may be available while bearing in mind that
relatively small changes in the value of the combustion
duration will not affect drastically the predicted values of
the performance parameters of a spark ignition engine.
The fastest burning rate and the minimum combustion
duration in a spark ignition engine may be assumed with
MBT timing to occur around the stoichiometric ratio
[3, 5, 7] resulting generally in the maximum pressure
occurring just after the top dead centre position (e.g. 10
15 ATDC) when the incremental pressure rise due to
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Fig. 11

Comparison of the calculated combustion duration


using the model approach and the simpli ed method
for various equivalence ratios
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Fig. 12

Typical variations of pressuretime diagram in the


cylinder in CFR engine while operating on methane

at the same operating conditions produced calculated


results of engine performance parameters that were
satisfactory.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A typical calculated temporal pressure variation using the


approach described while operating on methane in a CFR
engine is shown in Fig. 12 with the corresponding
experimental data. In principle, the contribution of cyclic
variations to the value of key engine performance
parameters can also be analytically accounted for by
considering the statistical variations in the combustion
energy released parameters, such as the combustion
duration. Similarly, Fig. 13 shows the changes in the
calculated indicated power output versus equivalence

Fig. 13

Typical variations of indicated power output with


equivalence ratio for different compression ratios
while operating on methane

Proc Instn Mech Engrs Vol 215 Part A

Fig. 14 The indicated power output variations with equivalence ratios when operating on methanehydrogen
mixtures

ratios for two different compression ratios along with the


corresponding experimental values. Very good agreement can be seen between the predicted and the
corresponding experimental values.
A further typical comparison involving fuel mixtures
of methanehydrogen is shown in Fig. 14. It can be seen
that the presence of very high concentrations of hydrogen
in the fuel mixtures improved slightly the indicated
power output mainly for very lean and rich mixtures,
re ecting the faster combustion of hydrogen in comparison with that of methane. The overall effect of the high
concentration of hydrogen in methane at other equivalence ratios tends to be affected somewhat adversely by
the lower heating value of hydrogen on a molar basis in
comparison with that of methane [21] and the need to
optimize spark timing with changes in both equivalence
ratio and hydrogen concentration.
Similarly, Fig. 15 shows a typical comparison of
results obtained for methanepropane and methane
ethane mixtures. It can be seen that the increasing
addition of ethane or propane to methane resulted in only
relatively small improvements in the indicated power
output at constant spark timing. This was expected
because both ethane and propane provide somewhat
faster combustion rates and higher heating values on a
volume basis than methane. Moreover, the addition of
propane tends to produce slightly higher output than the
corresponding values for ethane addition for the same
mixtures and operating conditions, since propane tends to
have slightly faster combustion rates and has a higher
heating value on a volume basis than ethane. These trends
are also consistent with those reported experimentally by
others (e.g. reference [3]). It is also evident that the
agreement between the results of the model and the
corresponding experimental data tends to be for practical
purposes very satisfactory.
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2
3

5
6

Fig. 15

The indicated power output variations when operating


on methaneethane and methanepropane mixtures
for spark timings of 15 BTDC for methaneethane
mixtures and 10 BTDC for methanepropane
mixtures

7
8
9

CONCLUSIONS

A simple predictive approach for determining the values


of the effective time period needed for completing ame
propagation in a spark ignition engine from the moment
of ame initiation by a spark to the end of effective
energy release by combustion for a variety of operating
conditions and fuel compositions is shown to produce
values that are in satisfactory agreement with experiment.
Calculated results of key engine performance parameters
obtained using a simple predictive two-zone model,
incorporating values of the combustion duration as
calculated according to the approaches described, agree
satisfactorily with the corresponding experimental values
obtained with a variety of gaseous fuels.

10

11
12
13
14

15

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The nancial support of the Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and
Province of Alberta Graduate Fellowship is acknowledged. The contribution of Drs Y. Al-Alousi, T. J. AlHimyary, J. Gao and A. A. Attar to this work is also
acknowledged.

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