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MEHB493 Lecture 7

Syllabus Topic 7 - Fuel systems

Carburetors; fuel injection systems for SI engines; fuel
injection systems for diesel engines; electronic fuel injection.

Reference Chapter 5 of the textbook. Please read the relevant sections of this chapter.
Additional material as per the course notes.
Fuel and Air Supply System
The object of the intake system is to deliver the proper
amount of air and fuel accurately and equally to all cylinders
at the proper time in the engine cycle.
Flow into an engine is pulsed as the intake valves open and
close, but can generally be modeled as quasi-steady state
The intake system consists of an intake manifold, a throttle,
intake valves, and either fuel injectors or a carburetor to add
fuel. Fuel injectors can be mounted by the intake valves of
each cylinder (multipoint port injection), at the inlet of the
manifold (throttle body injection), or in the cylinder head (CI
engines and modern two-stroke cycle and some four-stroke
cycle SI automobile engines).

Intake Manifold
The intake manifold is a system designed to deliver air to the
engine through pipes to each cylinder, called runners.
The inside diameter of the runners must be large enough so
that a high flow resistance and the resulting low volumetric
efficiency do not occur.
On the other hand, the diameter must be small enough to
assure high air velocity and turbulence, which enhances its
capability of carrying fuel droplets and increases evaporation
and air-fuel mixing.

Intake manifolds come in many
shape and configuration, but
basically there would be a
plenum and runners to each of
the engine cylinders.

On SI engines, air flow rate through the intake manifold is
controlled by a throttle plate (butterfly valve) usually located
at the upstream end.
The throttle is incorporated into the carburetor for those
engines so equipped.
Fuel is added to inlet air somewhere in the intake system-
before the manifold, in the manifold, or directly into each
cylinder. The further upstream the fuel is added, the more
time there is to evaporate the fuel droplets and to get proper
mixing of the air and fuel vapor. However, this also reduces
engine volumetric efficiency by displacing incoming air with
fuel vapor. Early fuel addition also makes it more difficult to
get good cylinder-to-cylinder AF consistency because of the
asymmetry of the manifold and different lengths of the

Volumetric Efficiency Of SI Engines
The volumetric efficiency of an SI engine vary with the engine
speed as shown in the figure below. The volumetric efficiency
v is maximum at a certain engine speed, decreasing at both
higher and lower speeds.

There are many physical and operating variables that shape
this curve. These are:
1. Fuel: How and when it is added to the air flow into the SI
engine affects v.
2. Temperature: High temperature of the intake system will
heat up and lower the density of the air. This lowers the
mass flow of the air and subsequentlyv.
3. Valve Overlap: At TDC at the end of the exhaust stroke
and the beginning of the intake stroke, both intake and
exhaust valves are open simultaneously for a brief
moment. When this happens, some exhaust gas can get
pushed through the open intake valve back into the intake
system. The exhaust displaces some of the incoming air
and lowers v.

4. Fluid Friction Losses: Air moving through any flow passage
or past any flow restriction undergoes a pressure drop. For
this reason, the pressure of the air entering the cylinders is
less than the surrounding atmospheric air pressure, and
the amount of air entering the cylinder is subsequently
reduced, thus lowering v.
5. Choked Flow: The extreme case of flow restriction is when
choked flow occurs at some location in the intake system.
As air flow is increased to higher velocities, it eventually
reaches sonic velocity in the most restricted passage of
the system. This choked flow condition is the maximum
flow rate that can be produced in the intake system
regardless of how conditions are changed. The result of
this is a lowering of the v curve on the high-speed.

6. Closing of Intake Valve: The timing of the intake valve
closing will affect v. The ideal time for the intake valve to
close is when there is pressure equalization between the
air inside the cylinder and the air in the manifold. The
equalization point varies with engine. But the position
where the intake valve closes on most engines is
controlled by a camshaft and cannot change with engine
speed. Thus, the closing cycle position is designed for one
engine speed, depending on the use for which the engine
is designed. This is no problem for a single-speed
industrial engine but is a compromise for an automobile
engine that operates over a large speed range. The result
of this single position valve timing is to reduce the
volumetric efficiency of the engine at both high and low
speeds. This is a strong argument for variable valve-timing
7. Intake Tuning: When gas flows in a pulsed manner, as in
the intake manifold of an engine, pressure waves are
created that travel down the length of the flow passage.
The wavelength of these waves is dependent on pulse
frequency and air flow rate or velocity. When these waves
reach the end of the runner or an obstruction in the runner,
they create a reflected pressure wave back along the
runner. The pressure pulses of the primary waves and the
reflected waves can reinforce or cancel each other,
depending on whether they are in or out of phase. If the
length of the intake manifold runner and the flow rate are
such that the pressure waves reinforce at the point where
the air enters the cylinder through the intake valve, the
pressure pushing the air in will be slightly higher, and
slightly more air will enter the cylinder. When this happens,
the system is tuned and v is increased.
8. Exhaust Residual: During the exhaust stroke, not all of the
exhaust gases get pushed out of the cylinder by the piston,
a small residual being trapped in the clearance volume.
The amount of this residual depends on the compression
ratio, and somewhat on the location of the valves and
valve overlap. In addition to displacing some incoming air,
this exhaust gas residual interacts with the air in two other
ways. When the very hot gas mixes with the incoming air it
heats the air, lowers the air density, and decreases v .
This is counteracted slightly, however, by the partial
vacuum created in the clearance volume when the hot
exhaust gas is in turn cooled by the incoming air.

9. EGR: In all modern automobile engines and in many other
engines, some exhaust gas is recycled (EGR) into the
intake system to dilute the incoming air. This reduces
combustion temperatures in the engine, which results in
less nitrogen oxides in the exhaust. Up to about 20% of
exhaust gases will be diverted back into the intake
manifold, depending on how the engine is being operated.
Not only does this exhaust gas displace some incoming
air, but it also heats the incoming air and lowers its density.
Both of these interactions lower the v of the engine. In
addition, engine crankcases are vented into the intake
systems, displacing some of the incoming air and lowering
the volumetric efficiency. Gases forced through the
crankcase can amount to about 1% of the total gas flow
through the engine.

Intake Valves
Intake valves of most IC
engines are poppet valves
that are spring loaded
closed and pushed open at
the proper cycle time by the
engine camshaft, as shown
schematically here. Much
rarer are rotary valves or
sleeve valves, found on
some engines.

Figure 1-12 - Poppet valve: (A) valve seat, (B) head,

(C) stem, (D) guide, (E) spring, (F) camshaft, (G)

Earlier engines had camshafts mounted close to the
crankshaft and the valves mounted in the engine block. As
combustion chamber technology progressed, valves were
moved to the cylinder head (overhead valves), and a long
mechanical linkage system (push rods, rocker arms, tappets)
was required. This was improved by also mounting the
camshaft in the engine head (i.e., overhead cam engines).
Most modern automobile engines have one or two camshafts
mounted in the head of each bank of cylinders. The closer the
camshaft is mounted to the stems of the valves, the greater is
the mechanical efficiency of the system.
The distance which a valve opens is called valve lift and is
generally on the order of a few millimeters to more than a
centimeter, depending on the engine size, usually about 5 to
10 mm for automobile engines.

Generally, lmax = dv /4, where lmax is valve lift when valve is
fully open and dv is the valve diameter. Shape and angle of
valve surfaces are sometimes designed to give special mass
flow patterns to improve overall engine efficiency.
As air flows around corners, the streamlines separate from.
the surface, and the actual
cross-sectional area of
flow is less than the flow
passage area The ratio of
the actual flow area to the
flow passage area is
called the valve discharge
CDv = Aact /Apass

The passage area of flow is:
Apass = dv l
Intake valves offer the greatest restriction to incoming air in
most engines. This is especially true at higher engine speeds.
Various empirical formulas can be found in technical engine
literature for sizing intake valves. Equations giving the
minimum valve intake area necessary for a modern engine
can be given in the form of:

Up n d 2 C = constant ( 1.3)
Ai CB 2 max
B = bore
ci 4
U p max = mean piston speed at max.
engine speed.
ci = speed of sound at inlet conditions
dv = valve diameter
Ai = inlet area for one valve
n = number of inlet valves per cylinder

On many newer engines with overhead valves and small
fast-burn combustion chambers, there is often not enough
wall space in the combustion chambers to fit the spark plug
and exhaust valve and still have room for an intake valve
large enough to satisfy the previous equation.
For this reason, most engines are now built with more than
one intake valve per cylinder. Two or three smaller intake
valves give more flow area and less flow resistance than
one larger valve. At the same time, these two or three intake
valves, along with usually two exhaust valves, can be better
fit into a given cylinder head size with enough clearance to
maintain the required structural strength.

Possible valve arrangements for modern overhead valve engines. For a
given combustion chamber size, two or three smaller intake valves give
more flow area and less flow resistance than one larger valve. For each
cylinder, the flow area of the intake valves is generally about 10% greater
than the flo area of the exhaust valves. (a) most early overhead valve
engines (1950-1980), (b) most present day automobile engines, (c) some
modern high performance automobile engines.

Multiple valves require a greater complexity of design with
more camshafts and mechanical linkages. It is often
necessary to have specially shaped cylinder heads and
recessed piston faces just to avoid valve-to-valve or valve-
to-piston contact. These designs would be difficult if not
impossible without the use of computer-aided design (CAD).
When two or more valves are used instead of one, the
valves will be smaller and lighter. This allows the use of
lighter springs and reduces forces in the linkage. Lighter
valves can also be opened and closed faster. Greater
volumetric efficiency of multiple valves overshadows the
added cost of manufacturing and the added complexity and
mechanical inefficiency.

Some engines with multiple intake valves are designed so
that only one intake valve per cylinder operates at low
speed. As speed is increased, less time per cycle is
available for air intake, and the second (and sometimes
third) valve actuates, giving additional inlet flow area. This
allows for increased control of the flow of air within the
cylinder at various speeds, which results in more efficient
In some of these systems, the valves will have different
timing. The low-speed valve will close at a relatively early
point aBDC. When operating, the high-speed valve(s) will
then close at a later position (up to 20 later) to avoid
lowering the volumetric efficiency.

Intake valves normally start to open somewhere between
10 and 25 bTDC and should be totally open by TDC to
get maximum flow during the intake stroke. The higher the
speed for which the engine is designed, the earlier in the
cycle the intake valve will be opened. In most engines
valve timing is set for one engine speed, with losses
occurring at any lower speed or higher speed. At lower
than design speed the intake valve opens too early,
creating valve overlap that is larger than necessary.
This problem is made worse because low engine speeds
generally have low intake manifold pressures. At higher
than design speeds, the intake valve opens too late and
intake flow has not been fully established at TDC, with a
loss in volumetric efficiency.

This figure shows the
mass flow through the
intake valve into a
Reverse flow can
result when valve
overlap occurs near
TDC. Reverse flow
out of the cylinder
will also occur at lower
engine speeds as the
intake valve is closing

Intake valves normally finish closing about 40-50 aBDC
for engines operating on an Otto cycle. Again, the correct
point of closing can be designed for only one engine speed,
with increased losses at either higher or lower than design

Various ways of obtaining variable valve timing are being
developed for automobile engines. These allow intake valve
opening and closing to change with engine speed, giving
better flow efficiency over a range of speeds. Some engines
use a hydraulic-mechanical system that allows for an
adjustment in the linkage between the camshaft and valves.
It does this with engine oil and bleed holes that require longer
cycle time (equal real time) to shift linkage dimensions as
speed is increased. With proper design, the intake valve can
be made to open earlier and close later as engine speed is
Some engines have camshafts with dual lobes for each
valve. As engine speed changes, the follower that rides the
cam shifts from one lobe to the other, changing valve timing.
This gives better engine efficiency at a cost of mechanical
complexity and added cost
The most flexible variable valve-timing system is electronic
actuators on each valve and no camshaft. This has been
done experimentally on engines but at present is too costly
and takes up too much room to be practical on
automobiles. Not only does this type of system give
essentially infinite variation in timing, but it also allows
for changing valve lift and gives much faster opening and
closing times than that which can be obtained with a
If valve lift can be controlled, more efficient operation can
be obtained at all engines speeds. Flow resistance and
mass flow patterns can be changed to better give desired
operation characteristics at different speeds.

A 2.8-liter four-cylinder square engine with two intake valves
per cylinder is designed to have a maximum speed of 7500
RPM. Intake temperature is 600C.
1. intake valve area
2. Diameter of intake valve
3. Valve lift
Speed of sound at inlet condition:

For one cylinder


The maximum average piston speed is then

(1) Total intake valve area needed

(2) For each valve

Diameter for each valve: dv = 2.25 cm

(3) Upper limit to valve lift: lmax = dv /4 = 2.25/4 = 0.56 cm.

Fuel Delivery System

Fuel Delivery System

Fuel-delivery system includes fuel tank, fuel and vapor lines,

pump, filter and charcoal canister.

The function of this system is to deliver fuel to the carburetor

or fuel injector. There, fuel is combined with air to form a
combustible mixture, which is then sent to the engine.

The fuel-delivery line is attached to the fuel-sender unit in

the fuel tank.

Fuel is pumped through the line to the carburetor by the fuel


When the engine is idling or isn't running, large quantities of
gasoline vapor can escape into the atmosphere and
contribute to air pollution.

Modern cars (manufactured after 1970) use a vapor-

recovery system to prevent this. Inside the sealed fuel tank,
gasoline vapor rises and travels through the vapor-recovery
line to the charcoal canister. Vapor from the carburetor float
bowl also flows to the canister.

Activated-charcoal particles in the canister absorb and hold

the vapor. When the engine is running at speed, vapor is
drawn into the carburetor or intake manifold, where it mixes
with air and enters the combustion cycle.


The carburetor is the engine component that provides the required air-
fuel mixture to the combustion chamber based on engine speed and

Idle Idle

Carburetor Operating Principles
A carburetor is a tube attached to the intake port of the
engine and open to the atmosphere.
On the intake stroke a volume with little to no pressure
develops in the combustion chamber.
Atmospheric pressure outside the engine - 101.3 kPa
Low pressure in the combustion chamber - 0 to slight
Result: air flows from outside to inside the engine.

As the air flows through the carburetor, the fuel is
entrained, atomized and vaporized.
To have available fuel, the carburetor must have a source
of fuel.
In the float type carburetor this source is the fuel bowel.

A pressure difference is also needed to cause the fuel to
flow from the fuel bowel into the air stream.
This is accomplished using a venturi and a tube connecting
the mouth of the venture to the fuel bowel. The pressure
difference created is based on the Bernoullis principle.

Bernoullis principle - Air

flowing through a narrowed
portion of a tube increases
in velocity and decreases in

We now have a functioning carburetor that will operate in an engine as
long as the engine has a constant load and constant speed. But


Very few engines operate at a

constant load and constant
To adjust the rate of fuel flow a
throttle is used.
When the throttle is in the
closed position there is
minimum air flow through the

Less air flow = less pressure difference in venturi

Less pressure difference = less fuel flow
Less fuel flow = less speed.

When the throttle is in the wide
open position, there is maximum
air flow through the carburetor.
Maximum air flow = maximum pressure difference
Maximum pressure difference = maximum fuel flow
Maximum fuel flow = maximum speed & power

To provide a means to adjust

maximum fuel flow, a needle valve
was added to the orifice.

A carburetor with this design would function well under
varying loads and speeds,
Starting is a different condition
For starting, an engine needs a richer fuel-air mixture.
This is accomplished by adding a choke.
Closing the choke increases the
pressure difference between the
fuel bowel and the venturi.

Increased pressure difference =

increased fuel flow

Once engine starts the choke

must be opened to prevent the
engine from running too rich.

Carburetor-Idle Circuit
The addition of a choke/primer
improved engine starting, but this
carburetor still has a problem if the
engine needs to idle.
When the throttle is in the idle
position, almost closed, the area
with greatest restriction, and
greatest pressure difference,
moves from the venturi to the area
between the throttle plate and the
wall of the tube.
This problem was solved with the
addition of an idle circuit and idle
needle valve.


To have constant fuel flow

with constant pressure
difference, the lift (distance
from the top of the fuel to
the top of the main nozzle)
must remain constant.
A constant level of fuel is
maintained in the fuel bowel
by the float, float needle
valve and float needle valve

Complete Carburetor -
Basic Design

Carburetor Designs
All carburetors have the same basic components. The design of any
individual carburetor is determined by the operating conditions of the
The more variable the load and speed the more complex the required
carburetor design.
Carburetors are also classified by the direction of the air flow.
Some carburetors also use multiple barrels, venturi.
Several additional features have been tried/added to improve
carburetor performance - Air bleeds
Fixed jets
Transition ports
Pilot jets

A Down

Air Fuel Mixture Control

Gasoline engines air fuel mixture may vary from rich

(8:1) to lean (18:1)

8:1 for cold starting.

16:1 for idling.
15:1 for part throttle.
13:1 for full acceleration.
18:1 for normal cruising at highway speeds.

An automobile carburetor must be capable of

providing varying air fuel ratios.


Feeds fuel into air horn when the

throttle is closed (low engine

High vacuum below the throttle

plate pulls fuel from the idle port.

Idle mixture screw allows

adjustment of fuel at idle.

Air bleed helps premix air and fuel.

Off idle system feeds fuel to the engine when the throttle is opened
slightly. It adds a little extra fuel to the extra air flowing around throttle valve.

Acceleration System

Accelerator pumps systems

use mechanical linkage from
the throttle lever.
Upon acceleration, both the
throttle valve and pump are
Thus the accelerator pump
squirts fuel into the air horn
every time the throttle is
This adds fuel to the rush of
air entering the engine and
prevents a temporary lean
High speed system
(cruising speed)

The main jet controls the fuel

flow and mixture.
At higher engine speeds,
there is enough air flow
through the venturi to
produce vacuum.
This pulls fuel through the
main discharge.

Choke System

When the engine is cold

the thermostatic spring
closes the choke.
High vacuum below the
choke pulls large amounts
of fuel out of the main
When the engine warms
the hot air opens the spring
Some chokes are
electrically operated.

Air and Fuel Flow in Carburetors

The mass flow rate of air through a venturi throat is given


C A P P 1/ k 2k k 1 / k 1/ 2
ma Dt t o t 1
RT Po k 1 Po
CDt = discharge coefficient of venturi throat
At = flow area of venturi throat
Po, To = ambient pressure and temperature
P1 = throat pressure
R = gas constant
k = ratio of specific heats

Air and Fuel Flow in

The pressure differential in

the air will be

Pa = Po Pt = P1 P2

where P2 and P1 are as

shown in the figure.

The pressure differential through the fuel capillary tube will
Pf = Pa f gh

f = density of the fuel
g = acceleration due to gravity
h = height differential in the fuel capillary tube.

Liquid fuel flow through a capillary tube is

mf CDc Ac P 2f Pf
CDc = discharge coefficient of the capillary tube
Ac = cross-sectional flow area of the capillary tube

The air-fuel ratio supplied by the carburetor is
1/ 2
ma CDt At a
mf CDc Ac f
1/ 2

Pa f gh
1/ 2
2/ k
k 1/ k
k Po Po

k 1 Pt

If the air velocity through the venturi throat is increased by
increasing the engine speed, a maximum flow rate will be
reached when sonic velocity occurs. This will happen when
k / k 1
Pt 2

Po k 1
Using k = 1.4 because of the relatively low temperature of
the air through the carburetor, we have
Pt = 0.5283 Po = 53.4 kPa at standard conditions.

Maximum air flow through the carburetor will then be

k 1/ k 1
ma max ocoCDt At
k 1
where co kRT0 = ambient speed of sound.

At standard conditions, o = 1.181 kg/m3 and

co 1.4 287 J/kg K 298 K 346 m/s

Using k = 1.4, we then have

a max
1.181 kg/m3

346 m/s Dt t
C A m 2

236.5 CDt At kg/s
This equation can be used to size the carburetor throat
needed for an engine.

There is always a net pressure loss through a venturi, with
downstream pressure never equaling upstream pressure. For
a given flow rate, the smaller the throat diameter, the greater
will be this net pressure loss. This loss directly reduces the
volumetric efficiency of the engine.
This would suggest that the throat diameter of the carburetor
should be made large. However, a large throat area would
have low air velocity and a small pressure differential through
the fuel capillary tube, causing poorer AF control, larger fuel
droplets, and poorer mixing of air and fuel.
Generally it would be desirable to have large-throat
carburetors on high-performance engines, which usually
operate at high speeds and where fuel economy is a
secondary priority. Small economy engines that do not need
high power would have small-throat carburetors.

One way to avoid compromising on the throat diameter is
to use a two-barrel carburetor (i.e., two separate, smaller
diameter, parallel venturi nozzles mounted in a single
carburetor body). At low engine speeds, only one
carburetor barrel is used.
This gives a higher pressure differential to better control
fuel flow and mixing without causing a large pressure loss
through the carburetor. At higher engine speeds and
higher air flow rates, both barrels are used, giving the
same better control without a large pressure loss.

Another type of carburetor
uses a secondary venturi
mounted inside the
primary larger venturi, as
shown here.
The large diameter of the
primary venturi avoids a
large pressure loss, while
the small diameter of the
secondary venturi gives a
higher pressure
differential for good fuel
flow control and mixing.

When a four-stroke cycle engine is operating, each cylinder
has intake occurring about one-fourth of the time. A single
carburetor can, therefore, supply an air-fuel mixture to as
many as four cylinders without the need for enlarging the
throat area. Instead of supplying a given flow rate
intermittently one-fourth of the time to one cylinder, the same
carburetor can supply the same flow rate to four cylinders at
almost steady-state flow if the cylinder cycles are dispersed
evenly about the engine rotation, the normal way of operating
an engine.
The same size carburetor would be correct for 2 or 3 cylinders
also, with flow occurring on and off. If 5 or more cylinders are
connected to a single carburetor, the throat area would have
to be larger to accommodate the higher flow rates that would
occur when more than one cylinder is taking in air and fuel.

Example Problem
A six-cylinder, 3.6-liter SI engine is designed to have a
maximum speed of 6000 RPM. At this speed the volumetric
efficiency of the engine is 0.92. The engine will be equipped
with a two-barrel carburetor, one barrel for low speeds and
both barrels for high speed. Gasoline density can be
considered to be 750 kg/m3. The fuel capillary tube height h is
1.5 cm. Calculate:
1. throat diameters for the carburetor (assume CDt = 0.94)
2. fuel capillary tube diameters for AF = 15.2 (assume CDc =



For each barrel (assuming both barrels are identical)

Throttle for the second barrel would remain closed until

about 3000 rpm.
2) At maximum flow rate in one barrel, pressure at the
throat is Pt = 53.4 kPa.
Pressure drop of the air
Pa = 101 53.4 = 47.6 kPa
For h = 1.5 cm = 0.015 m
Pf = Pa f gh
= 47.6 kPa (750 kg/m3)(9.81 m/s2)(0.015 m)
= 47.49 kPa

The cross-sectional area of the fuel capillary tube is
determined from

Solving, we get Ac =1.03 106 m2 and

dc = (4Ac/)1/2 = 0.00115 m = 1.15 mm