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Comparative Analysis Of Cycle-To-Cycle Variabilities And Combustion Development In An Optical Spark-Ignition Engine Fueled By Pure Hydrogen And Propane: Insights From Chemiluminescence and PI

Caio Ramalho Leite (1), Pierre Brequigny (1), Jacques Borée (2), Fabrice Foucher (1)

1. Laboratoire PRISME, Orléans, France
2. ISAE-ENSMA, Poitiers, France


Hydrogen, derived from renewable sources and devoid of carbon emissions, is a pivotal energy carrier for the future. Representing a viable substitute for fossil fuels in internal combustion engines (ICEs), contemporary studies advocate using very-lean and ultra-lean hydrogen-air mixtures, with a fuel-air equivalence ratio below 0.5, as a potent strategy to reduce NOx emissions in hydrogen-fueled ICEs. An experimental setup with an optical spark-ignition engine was devised to investigate the primary factors influencing cycle-to-cycle variations in H2ICEs by optimizing mixture homogeneity and focusing the study on flame interaction with in-cylinder aerodynamics. Simultaneous in-cylinder pressure, chemiluminescence, and PIV analyses were performed to characterize and compare the behaviors of ultra-lean hydrogen-air and propane-air flames, assessing flame development and cyclic variation features. Results indicate that the flame development of hydrogen and propane is significantly different. Propane exhibited increased in-cylinder pressure trace variability at lean and rich flammability limits with a high flame development difference between fast and slow cycles. In contrast, hydrogen-air mixtures under various equivalence ratios (from very-lean to ultra-lean) presented much more stable in-cylinder pressures. Furthermore, fast propane flames were mainly advected to the cylinder's symmetrical axes, while fast hydrogen flames started further away from the spark plug. Horizontal and vertical PIV measurements showed a single structure flow field over the studied conditions with mainly intensity variations over the measured cycles. Fast flames were associated with more intense tumble motion. The differences between fast and slow flames for hydrogen are attributed to the early flame development. However, after initial differences in flame development over several crank angles, there are similarities in all cycles, suggesting that the low variability in in-cylinder pressures is mostly due to the robustness of hydrogen flame ignition and its independence from in-cylinder flow small variations at the early development phase.

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