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Archivum Combustionis

Vol. 30 (2010) no. 4

Combined Effects of Pilot Quantity, Injection Pressure


and Dwell Periods on the Combustion and Emissions
Behaviour of a Modern V6 Diesel Engine

N. R. Abdullah, M. L. Wyszynski, A. Tsolakis, R. Mamat, H. M. Xu, G. Tian


School of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Birmingham,
Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom
e-mail: m.l.wyszynski@bham.ac.uk

Experimental results have shown that high exhaust emissions in diesel engines can be avoided
by employing special injection strategies. This is because an increased homogeneity of the
fuel-air mixture created by some injection strategies has a capability to improve NOx-PM
trade-off. Therefore, the mixture quality is a primary parameter that needs to be controlled
in order to enhance engine power output and low exhaust emissions. In fact, the combustion
strategy employing multiple injections and EGR technique tends to introduce better fuel
economy as well. In the experimental work presented in this paper the combinations of pilot
quantities, injection pressures and dwell periods (time lapse between Pilot Injection Timing and
Main Injection Timing) have been tested on a modern V6 diesel engine. The engine utilises a
common rail direct injection, is fitted with twin turbo-charged variable turbine geometry (VTG)
turbochargers and is fuelled with ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD). The overall results show
that these strategies have a potential to improve exhaust emissions specifically NOx, Particulate
Matter, THCs, CO emissions and fuel economy.

1. Introduction

The common rail (CR) direct injection system is commonplace in modern diesel engine
specifications. The system provides multiple choice of injection events, pressures, injection
timing and injection rate that give favour clean combustion and ultra low exhaust emissions.
The initial reasons for the multiple injections development are to reduce level of engine
noise and exhaust emissions [1-4]. The combustion analysis study by Shuji et al. proved
that the multiple injection strategies have potential to create low combustion temperatures
that are beneficial for emissions [5].
A previous study shows that emissions are greatly influenced by the spray properties,
ignition delay and combustion characteristics of the fuel [6]. These parameters influence fuel
distribution in the combustion chamber that affects the homogeneity of the fuel-air mixture.
Several studies have revealed that pilot injection strategy produced a shorter main ignition
delay, contributing to lower emissions [7-9]. Shorter ignition delay leads to a reduction of
THCs and smoke emissions due to less fuel adhering to the combustion chamber walls.
482 N. R. ABDULLAH, M. L. WYSZYNSKI, A. TSOLAKIS, R. MAMAT, H. M. XU, G. TIAN

Spray behaviour study shows that significant changes in spray penetration can be
achieved through multiple injections strategy. In fact, the strategy has a capability to reduce
fuel impingement on the cylinder wall. This is beneficial for the fuel economy and exhaust
emissions [7, 10]. In multiple injections strategy, the pilot quantity has a significant effect on
the main combustion behaviour. A long ignition delay tends to produce more homogenous
charge resulting in low combustion temperatures. As is well accepted, all exhaust emissions
increase with lower combustion temperatures except for NOx emissions. Meanwhile, a
short ignition delay leads to the more significant diffusion combustion phase [11]. This
type of combustion leads to higher smoke emissions since larger smoke formation occurs
in diffusion combustion [2]. Therefore, a moderate ignition delay is significantly important
for the control of the combustion phases (premixed vs. diffusion).
A number of research studies showed that the combined effects of multiple injections
and high injection pressures resulted in a fast mixing process leading to better emissions-
performance trade off [1-4, 8, 9, 12-19]. However, the higher injection pressure tends to
increase the NOx emissions due to high combustion temperatures [20]. An early pilot
injection with low injection pressure can reduce the NOx and particulate matter (PM)
emissions [2, 21]. This is due to long ignition delay in a lean mixture that leads to lower
combustion temperatures. Studies by Naoto Horibe et al. [22] showed that the NOx
emissions can be mitigated through the injection strategy, EGR rates and combustion
chamber geometry.
Many research programmes have been carried out at The University of Birmingham
to investigate the combustion behaviour and exhaust emissions in diesel engines. [23-31].
The present experimental work was performed using a modern V6 Jaguar diesel engine
to investigate the combined effects of a variation of pilot quantity (0.8 – 3.0 mg/stroke),
different injection pressure (250 bar and 800 bar) and different dwell period (5 CAD and
20 CAD) on engine performance and emissions. The selected engine speed and load are
1500 rpm and 30 Nm (brake) respectively.

2. Experimental Set-up

The experiments were carried out on a fully instrumented multi-cylinder Jaguar V6


diesel engine equipped with common rail multiple direct fuel injection system, twin water-
aftercooled variable geometry turbochargers and cooled EGR. The engine specification
is shown in Table 1. The fuel injector model is a six-hole Siemens 4S7Q-9K546-AD
(unmodified, as provided by the manufacturer). An eddy-current dynamometer type Schenck
W230 and an engine starter motor, are used to load and start the engine respectively. The
Schenck series 2000 controller is used to control the dynamometer. The engine test rig has
been described in detail in previous publications [25, 32-35] .
Combined Effects of Pilot Quantity, Injection Pressure and Dwell Periods on the Combustion ... 483

The tests were carried out with five different pilot injection quantities 0.8, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5
and 3.0 mg/stroke with different dwell periods between pilot and main injection timing at
two different injection pressures 250 bar and 800 bar. The injection pressures are the same
for both pilot and main injection. The Engine Management System (EMS) signals for engine
operating parameters such as air mass flow-rate, fuel mass flow-rate, start of pilot and main
injection, temperature of coolant and lubrication, intake manifold pressure and injection
pressure can be monitored, calibrated, and recorded using INCA® V5.3 software from
ETAS®. All test conditions were performed with ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) and the
fuel properties are given in Table 2. A pressure transducer (AVL® GU13G piezo transducer)
is located in cylinder 5. Computer is used to record the pressure history by using in-house
developed LabVIEW® software. The voltage signal from the pressure transducer in cylinder
5 was converted into pressure values by using this software. The average of peak cylinder
pressure comes from 100 consecutive engine cycles. The engine and exhaust temperatures
were measured using thermocouples. Exhaust gas analysis (wet) was carried out using a
HORIBA® 7100DEGR analyser. The smoke emissions were measured by using an AVL®
415S smoke meter which provides results directly as a Filter Smoke Number (FSN) unit.
The effects of pilot quantities at different injection pressures and dwell periods operating
with an average of 40 % cooled EGR on combustion characteristics and exhaust emissions
were examined. The EGR rate was controlled automatically by the EMS. The rate of
EGR varied between 39-41 % and depended on the engine test condition. The selected
conditions were chosen in order to investigate the combined effect of injection strategies
at low engine speed and load.

Tab. 1 Engine specifications Tab. 2 Fuel characteristics (ULSD)

Bore 81.0 mm Cetane number 53.9

Stroke 88.0 mm Density at 15 C (kg m )


˚ −3
827.1
Viscosity at 40˚C (cSt) 2.467
Displacement volume 2720 cm3
50% distillation ( C) ˚
264
Maximum torque 435 Nm @ 1900 rpm
90% distillation ( C) ˚
329
Maximum power 152 kW @ 4000 rpm LCV (MJ kg−1) 42.6
Compression ratio 17.3:1 Sulphur (mg kg ) −1
46

Connecting rod length 160.0 mm Aromatics Mono (wt%) 21.0


Di (wt%) 3.1
Tri (wt%) 0.3
Aromatics Total (wt%) 24.4
C (wt%) 86.5
H (wt%) 13.5
O (wt%) -
484 N. R. ABDULLAH, M. L. WYSZYNSKI, A. TSOLAKIS, R. MAMAT, H. M. XU, G. TIAN

3. Engine Test Conditions

The experimental works were performed at 4 different engine test modes as shown in
Table 3 below.

Tab. 3 Engine test conditions


Mode Injection Pressure (Bar) Dwell Period (CAD)
1 250 5
2 800 5
3 250 20
4 800 20

4. Results and Discussion

Figure 1 shows the rate of heat release (ROHR) and the in-cylinder pressure as a function
of crank angle degree (CAD) from two different injection pressures (250 bar and 800 bar),
two different dwell periods (5 CAD and 20 CAD) with five different pilot quantities (0.8,
1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 mg/stroke). It can be clearly seen from Figure 1 that the highest pilot
quantity produces the highest in-cylinder peak pressure for both injection pressures and
dwell periods. The rate of pressure rise increased as the pilot quantity increased from 0.8
mg/stroke to 3.0 mg/stk. It is thought that the increased combined fuel (pilot fuel and main
fuel) resulted in higher combustion temperatures. This leads to complete combustion. In
general, the in-cylinder peak pressure relies on the premixed combustion phase, which is
strongly influenced by the mixture quality.
The higher injection pressure and longer dwell period produced higher peak in-cylinder
pressure for all pilot quantities. This is due to better fuel atomisation corresponding to the
smaller fuel droplets size and longer reaction time, thus promoting a complete combustion
and a faster heat release rate [36, 37]. In contrast, the lower injection pressure and longer
dwell produces lower in-cylinder peak pressure due to the reduction of the premixed
combustion phase as a consequence of the poor rate of fuel evaporation. In addition,
the peak in-cylinder pressure depends upon the initial combustion rate which is strongly
influenced by the amount of fuel available to burn at this stage [38]. The effect of pilot
quantities is less sensitive at higher injection pressure and longer dwell due to the smaller
fuel droplet size and longer contact time between fuel and air. The lower injection pressures
and longer dwell result in a slower combustion process. This is strongly believed to be due
to a poor mixing process resulting in longer ignition delay. The longer ignition delay also
related to the low local temperatures and pressure due to extension of combustion into the
expansion stroke. The results also show that combinations of high injection pressure and
long dwell produce higher in-cylinder peak pressure (Fig. 2) for all pilot quantities.
Combined Effects of Pilot Quantity, Injection Pressure and Dwell Periods on the Combustion ... 485

It is noticeable that the rate of heat released is shifted forwards (delayed) to the early
expansion stroke of the engine as the pilot quantity increases, due to poor mixing process.
The ROHR curve dropped to negative values when the main injection fuel was evaporating.
In the case of 250 bar injection and 20 CAD dwell period (Mode 3, Fig. 1e and 1g), the
ROHR curve dropped to almost a zero value during evaporation. This is strongly believed
to be due to the small amount of heat absorbed from pilot combustion to evaporate the fuel
from main injection. This is the reason that the ROHR from pilot injection in both cases
almost disappears.

e) f)
486 N. R. ABDULLAH, M. L. WYSZYNSKI, A. TSOLAKIS, R. MAMAT, H. M. XU, G. TIAN

g) h)

Fig. 1 The Rate of Heat Release (ROHR) and In-Cylinder Pressure (Cyl Pressure) Profile a) ROHR
Mode 1, b) ROHR Mode 2, c) Cyl Pressure Mode 1, d) Cyl Pressure Mode 2, e) ROHR Mode 3, f)
ROHR Mode 4, g) Cyl Pressure Mode 3, h) Cyl Pressure Mode 4

Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4


46
Peak Cyl Pressure(Bar)

44

42

40
0.8 1.5 2 2.5 3
Pilot Quantity (mg/stk)

Fig. 2 Peak In-Cylinder Pressure against pilot injection quantity at different engine test modes

5. Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC)

In all test modes (Mode 1 to Mode 4) the BSFC increases as the pilot quantity increases
due to the poor mixing process as shown in Figure 3; this also results in the increase of
THCs and CO emissions. The results also show that the higher injection pressure consumed
less fuel per kWh (lower BSFC) as compared with the lower injection pressure for both
dwell periods (5 CAD and 20 CAD). This is strongly related to the mixing process and
combustion temperatures that result in complete combustion.
As expected, when the injection pressure increased less fuel was consumed per kWh
shaft power (BSFC) for both short and long dwell period (Figure 3). The overall results
show that the long dwell produced slightly lower BSFC compared to the short dwell for
Combined Effects of Pilot Quantity, Injection Pressure and Dwell Periods on the Combustion ... 487

all pilot quantities. As previously mentioned, this is thought to be due to the poorer mixing
process of the short dwell which relates to the residence time of the fuel to mix with air in
the combustion chamber. The shorter dwell provides a limited time for fuel to entrain with
the air. In general, the BSFC decreases as injection pressure increases due to the enhanced
mixing process. As a result, energy release takes place closer to TDC, which increases the
thermodynamic efficiency and thus reduces BSFC [16].
The long dwell period produces higher BSFC than short dwell when engine is operating
with low injection pressure. This is due to a poor mixing process resulting in longer main
ignition delay and slower combustion. The slower combustion is leading to the pressure rise
late in the expansion stroke which results in high fuel consumption due to loss of the work
available and fuel impingement [13]. In fact, the lowest fuel consumption can be achieved if
all the injected fuel burned quickly near to TDC [15]. In the case of high injection pressure,
the longer dwell period results in lower BSFC as compared to the shorter dwell period.
This is due to a longer reaction time for the fuel and air to mix with each other. Therefore,
the longer dwell period shows a lower BSFC than the shorter dwell period. The overall
results show that a lower pilot quantity is better than a larger pilot quantity for all engine
test modes. The combination of smaller pilot quantity, higher injection pressure and longer
dwell period leads to an improvement in the fuel economy. For proper dwell timing, the
pilot combustion contributes to the comparatively shorter main ignition delay [39, 40]. As
a result, more complete combustion leads to lower fuel consumption.

Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4


700

650
BSFC (g/kWh)

600

550

500

450
0.8 1.5 2 2.5 3
Pilot Quantity (mg/stk)

Fig. 3 Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) against pilot injection quantity at different engine test modes

6. Total Unburnt Hydrocarbons (THCs)

Figure 4 shows the total hydrocarbons (THCs) emissions against pilot injection quantity
for different engine test modes. THCs are emitted by the engine as a result of incomplete
combustion, due in part to heavier hydrocarbons in diesel fuel [41]. The effects on increased
THCs emissions have been reported in earlier publications by the authors [42, 43] and are
488 N. R. ABDULLAH, M. L. WYSZYNSKI, A. TSOLAKIS, R. MAMAT, H. M. XU, G. TIAN

due to the lean or rich mixture regions and low combustion temperatures. The higher THCs
emissions also related to the slow of fuel oxidation on the walls [22]. In THCs emissions,
the fuel atomisation and evaporation rate are the most important primary parameters that
need to be controlled in order to increase the combustion efficiency. It is clearly seen in
Figure 4 that the THCs emissions increase gradually as the pilot quantity increases in all
engine test modes. This is strongly believed to be due to fuel impingement on the cylinder
wall increasing with the increase of pilot injection quantity.
The larger pilot quantity, higher injection pressure and longer dwell have a potential to
create more lean regions. The higher injection pressure produces improved spray atomisation
to start with and enhances the initial combustion resulting in a rapid rise in the cylinder
pressure thus producing less THCs emissions [18, 44]. The poor fuel distribution at higher
pilot injection quantity and low injection pressure contributes to the higher THCs emissions
in the exhaust pipe [45]. Therefore, the injection strategy employing a smaller pilot quantity,
higher injection pressure and longer dwell period improves the THCs emissions. In fact,
an appropriate combination of pilot quantity, injection pressure and dwell period is an
important parameter that needs to be controlled in order to mitigate other engine emissions.

Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4


4

3.5
THCs (g/kWh)

2.5

1.5

1
0.8 1.5 2 2.5 3
Pilot Quantity (mg/stk)

Fig. 4 THCs Emissions against pilot injection quantity at different engine test modes

7. Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)

The results show that the NOx emissions were increased dramatically as pilot quantity
increased in all engine test modes. This is due to the increase in fuel burnt in premixed
combustion resulting in higher NOx formation [38, 44]. The shorter dwell period increases
the NOx emissions due to the fact that both pilot and main combustion occur at the same
time. These results show a good agreement with [46]. In addition, the results also show
that NOx emissions increase as injection pressure increases for all engine test modes. This
is due to smaller fuel droplets, which leads to a faster combustion process [38, 41].
Combined Effects of Pilot Quantity, Injection Pressure and Dwell Periods on the Combustion ... 489

A larger pilot injection quantity produces higher NOx emissions as compared with the
smaller pilot quantity due to a sharp rise in cylinder temperature [7]. The shorter dwell
period tends to increase the NOx emissions due to more fuel burnt within a short period
[15]. Meanwhile, the longer dwell period between the two injections allows combustion to
occur at different times resulting in lower NOx emissions [1, 11, 47, 48]. Emissions of NOx
can be controlled by limiting the amount of fuel burnt in the premixed combustion [13].
The overall results show that the smaller pilot quantity with the lower injection pressure
has a potential to control the NOx emissions.

Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4


0.16
NOx Emissions (g/kWh)

0.12

0.08

0.04
0.8 1.5 2 2.5 3
Pilot Quantity (mg/stk)

Fig. 5 NOx Emissions against pilot injection quantity at different engine test modes

8. Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Figure 6 displays the pattern of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions against a variation of
pilot injection quantity at different engine test modes. The CO emissions originate from the
lean / rich / colder regions in the combustion chamber at the end of the expansion stroke
[49-51]. Overall results show that the CO emissions gradually increase as pilot quantity
increases in all engine test modes. This is due to a poor mixing process with the higher
pilot quantity. In the case of a short dwell period, the higher pilot quantity is quenched by
the larger amount of fuel from the main injection that leads to the incomplete combustion.
The increase in CO emissions also relates to fuel impingement due to the higher injection
pressure and short dwell period between two injection events (pilot and main injection).
The results also show that CO emissions decrease as the injection pressure increases
for almost all engine test modes. This is due to more complete combustion at the higher
injection pressure resulting in high oxidation rate of CO to CO2 since the CO emissions
are greatly dependent on the local air-fuel ratio [38]. The high combustion temperatures
resulting from complete combustion also contribute to the lower CO emissions. The higher
injection pressure induces more air entrainment during the ignition delay period to promote
a fast combustible mixture formation. Meanwhile, in the case of a lower injection pressure
the mixing process is very poor. The quantity of fuel burnt in premixed phase is reduced,
giving higher CO emissions [12]. The overall results show that a higher pilot quantity tends
490 N. R. ABDULLAH, M. L. WYSZYNSKI, A. TSOLAKIS, R. MAMAT, H. M. XU, G. TIAN

to emit higher CO particularly in Mode 3 (low injection pressure and long dwell period).
A combination of the smaller pilot quantity with the higher injection pressure and longer
dwell period produced the lowest CO emissions due to the better mixing process.

Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4


18

16
CO (g/kWh)

14

12

10

8
0.8 1.5 2 2.5 3
Pilot Quantity (mg/stk)

Fig. 6 CO Emissions against pilot injection quantity at different engine test modes

9. Exhaust Temperature

The variation of exhaust gas temperature (EGT) against the variation of pilot quantity
at different engine test modes is shown in Figure 7. The results show that exhaust gas
temperature increases as the pilot injection quantity increases for all engine test modes.
The combination of larger pilot quantity, higher injection pressure and longer dwell period
produces the highest exhaust temperatures. This is due to small fuel droplet size and
longer reaction time available for the fuel to evaporate and mix with the surrounding air,
which leads to higher exhaust temperatures. As the injection pressure increases, the fuel
droplet size decreases leading to fast (active) combustion [41, 52-54], thus producing higher
exhaust gas temperatures. The low exhaust temperature occurs at lower injection pressures
and longer dwell period for all pilot quantities which is due to a poor combustion process
leading to lower combustion temperatures.

Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4


320
Ext. Temp (Deg.C)

280

240
0.8 1.5 2 2.5 3
Pilot Quantity (mg/stk)

Fig. 7 Exhaust Temperature against pilot injection quantity at different engine test modes
Combined Effects of Pilot Quantity, Injection Pressure and Dwell Periods on the Combustion ... 491

The exhaust temperature increases with the increase of pilot injection quantities. This is
due to larger pilot quantities tending to promote rapid combustion in the main combustion
phase. Therefore, the rapid combustion tends to produce high combustion temperatures
resulting in high exhaust temperature. Other possibilities include the more significant
diffusion combustion phase leading to a higher exhaust temperature. The results also depict
that the combination of larger pilot quantity, higher injection pressure and longer dwell
period produce higher exhaust temperatures due to complete combustion resulting in more
heat generated in the combustion chamber.

10. Smoke

The variation of smoke level relative to the variation of the pilot quantity at different
engine test modes is shown in Figure 8. The increase of pilot injection quantity from 0.8 to
3.0 mg/stroke resulted in increased smoke level as mentioned by [55, 56]. The combination
of higher pilot quantity with a short dwell period emitting a higher smoke level is due to
shorter reaction time for the fuel to mix with air that leads to less complete combustion.
The poor mixing process resulting from a larger pilot quantity results in the reduction
of soot oxidation. Meanwhile, the lower pilot quantity and longer dwell period result in
lower level of smoke emissions due to an improved mixing process and smaller fuel-rich
regions that can contribute to the soot formation [57, 58]. The longer dwell period leads to
reduced smoke emissions due to the increased available time for the mixing process [16,
38, 59, and 60].
The soot formation can be reduced through a more complete mixture formation. The
mixture with the less significant local rich regions tends to produce less soot. The soot
oxidation occurs at the temperature above 1300 K [61]. Therefore, higher combustion
temperatures are favourable for soot oxidation [62]. The injection timing should be matched
with the injection quantity for cleaner combustion and lower emissions [47]. These findings
suggest that the combination of lower pilot quantity, higher injection pressure and longer
dwell period can be considered as a smoke reduction. Therefore, the combination of pilot
quantity and dwell period can improve the smoke level as mentioned by Zhang [9].

Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4


14

12
Smoke (FSN)

10

6
0.8 1.5 2 2.5 3
Pilot Quantity (mg/stk)

Fig. 8 Smoke Level (FSN) against pilot injection quantity at different engine test modes
492 N. R. ABDULLAH, M. L. WYSZYNSKI, A. TSOLAKIS, R. MAMAT, H. M. XU, G. TIAN

11. Conclusions

Experimental analysis has been carried out to evaluate the combined effect of pilot
injection quantity, injection pressure and dwell period on the combustion characteristics
and exhaust emission of a modern V6 diesel engine. This study shows that the longer
dwell produced a slightly higher in-cylinder peak pressure than the shorter dwell for all
pilot quantities. The longer dwell provides a longer residence time for the pilot fuel to
mix with air resulting in more fuel ready to burn in the premixed combustion phase, in
turn resulting in a higher in-cylinder pressure due to the combustion of the pilot injection.
Furthermore, the long pilot injection advance leads to a longer main ignition delay after
the start of main injection which leads to a more complete mixture, thus producing higher
in-cylinder peak pressure. In summary, the overall results showed that the combination of
higher pilot quantity, higher injection pressure and longer dwell period produces higher
engine power outputs. Meanwhile, in term of fuel economy and exhaust emissions (except
NOx emissions) the combination of smaller pilot quantity, higher injection pressure and
longer dwell period is the most effective strategy.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank to the Government of Malaysia for the PhD. scholarships
awarded to Mr Nik Rosli Abdullah (UiTM) and Mr Rizalman Mamat (UMP). Sincere
thanks to Dr K. Thennoi for providing valuable comments and suggestions. The authors
are grateful to the Future Power Group members of Birmingham University, Jaguar Cars
Ltd and Shell Global Solutions (UK) for their support during this experiment.

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