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(DJA3032) INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE

CHAPTER 3: COMBUSTION AND FUEL


CHARACTERISTICS
by
MOHD SAHRIL BIN MOHD FOUZI, Grad. IEM (G 27763)
DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

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INTRODUCTION :

This topic covers the understanding of combustion process in spark ignition as well as
compression ignition engine. It also includes knocking phenomenon and fuel
characteristics.

Specific objectives:

At the end of this unit you should be able to:

1. describe the combustion of fuel injection.


2. draw engine pressure Vs crank angle diagram.
3. define the term Knocking.
4. list the effects knocking during engine process.
5. define how to reduce knocking problem during engine process.
6. draw the Ricardo Diagram.
7. define the Catena Number.

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COMBUSTION PROCESS TERMS:

Normal Combustion
A combustion process which is initiated solely by a timed spark and in which the flame
front moves completely across the combustion chamber in a uniform manner at a normal
velocity.

Abnormal Combustion
A combustion process in which a flame front may be started by hot combustion-chamber
surfaces either prior to or after spark ignition, or a process in which some part or all of the
charge may be consumed at extremely high rates.1

Figure 3.1: Diagram for Normal and Abnormal Combustion

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Spark Knock

A knock which is recurrent and repeatable in terms of audibility. It is controllable by the


spark advance; advancing the spark increases the knock intensity and retarding the
spark reduces the intensity.
Knock is the name given to the noise which is transmitted through the engine
structure when essentially spontaneous ignition of a portion of the end gasthe fuel,
air, residual gas, mixture ahead of the propagating flameoccurs.
There is an extremely rapid release of most of the chemical energy in the end-gas,
causing very high local pressures and the propagation of pressure waves of substantial
amplitude across the combustion chamber.

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Figure 3.2: Spark knock phenomenon

Surface Ignition
Surface ignition is ignition of the fuel-air charge by any hot surface other than the spark
discharge prior to the arrival of the normal flame front. It may occur before the spark
ignites the charge (pre-ignition) or after normal ignition (post-ignition).
Surface Ignition is ignition of the fuel-air mixture by a hot spot on the combustion
chamber walls such as an overheated valve or spark plug, or glowing combustion-
chamber deposit: i.e., by any means other than the normal spark discharge.
Following surface ignition, a flame develops at each surface-ignition location and
starts to propagate across the chamber in an analogous manner to what occurs with
normal spark-ignition.
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Figure 3.3: (a) Normally, fuel is ignited by the spark plug, and combustion spreads uniformly
outward. (b) Gasoline with an octane rating that is too low for the engine can ignite prematurely,
resulting in uneven burning that causes knocking and pinging.

The octane scale was established in 1927 using a standard test engine and two pure
compounds: n-heptane and isooctane (2,2,4-trimethylpentane). n-Heptane, which causes a
great deal of knocking on combustion, was assigned an octane rating of 0, whereas
isooctane, a very smooth-burning fuel, was assigned an octane rating of 100.

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Figure 3.4: The Octane Ratings of Some Hydrocarbons and Common Additives

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Chemists assign octane ratings to different blends of gasoline by burning a sample of each
in a test engine and comparing the observed knocking with the amount of knocking
caused by specific mixtures of n-heptane and isooctane. For example, the octane rating of
a blend of 89% isooctane and 11% n-heptane is simply the average of the octane ratings
of the components weighted by the relative amounts of each in the blend. Converting
percentages to decimals, we obtain the octane rating of the mixture:

0.89(100)+0.11(0)=89

A gasoline that performs at the same level as a blend of 89% isooctane and 11% n-heptane
is assigned an octane rating of 89; this represents an intermediate grade of gasoline.
Regular gasoline typically has an octane rating of 87; premium has a rating of 93 or
higher.

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Figure 3.5: The Distillation of Petroleum

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Ignition
The ignition system is designed to ignite the air and fuel that have been mixed in the
fuel system. It is important to improve this system. Each year, ignition is becoming
more and more computerized. Todays ignition systems are almost totally computer
controlled for improved combustion.

Pre- Ignition
This Is one process where the spark is heated up before the ignition begins. It causes
rough running and in extreme cases, can do damage to the engine.
Causes of pre-ignition include the following:
1. Carbon deposits form a heat barrier and can be a contributing factor to pre-ignition.
2. Glowing carbon deposits on a hot exhaust
3. A sharp edge in the combustion chamber or on top of a piston
4. Sharp edges on valves that were reground improperly
5. An engine that is running hotter than normal due to a cooling system problem
6. Auto-ignition of engine oil droplets.

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Ignition Delay
Ignition delay is defined as the time (or crank angle interval) from when the fuel injection
starts to the onset of combustion.

Figure 3.6: Pressure Crank Angle diagram for a four-stroke cycle

Delay period is the commencement of injection and it is indicated by the dot on the
compression line 15 before dead centre. The period 1 is the delay period during which
ignition is being initiated, but without any measurable departure of the pressure from the
air compression curve which is continued as a broken line in the diagram as it would be
recorded if there were no injection and combustion.

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Figure 3.7: Pressure vs crankshaft position diagram

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Combustion Process Based On The Pressure Vs Crankshaft Position


0 180 = Intake valve open (IVO), intake process occurred and piston moving
from Top Dead Center (TDC) to Bottom Dead Center (BDC). The
mixture of fuel and O is entering the cylinder. Exhaust valve close
(EVC) during this stroke (intake stroke) and the pressure remain
constant.
180 360 = Intake valve close (IVC), piston climb up from Bottom Dead Center
(BDC) to Top Dead Center (TDC). The mixture of fuel and O is
compressed and the pressure is raising up. Spark plug will ignite
before TDC (Ignition Delay).
360 540 = Intake valve close (IVC) and exhaust valve close (EVC) during power
stroke. Piston moving downward from Top Dead Center (TDC) to
Bottom Dead Center (BDC). At the end of this process the exhaust
valve open (EVO). The pressure is decreasing.
540 720 = Piston moving upward from Bottom Dead Center (BDC) to Top Dead
Center (TDC). The product of combustion is expelled out from the
cylinder. At the of this process, intake valve open (IVO) and continue
for next cycle.
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The Effect of Engine Speed on Ignition Timing

Ignition timing, in a spark ignition internal combustion engine (ICE), is the process
of setting the angle relative to piston position and crankshaft angular velocity that
a spark will occur in the combustion chamber near the end of the compression stroke.
"Timing advance" refers to the number of degrees before top dead center (BTDC)
that the spark will ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber during
the compression stroke. Igniting the mixture before the piston reaches TDC will
allow the mixture to fully burn soon after the piston reaches TDC.
Retarded timing can be defined as changing the timing so that fuel ignition
happens later than the manufacturer's specified time. For example, if the timing
specified by the manufacturer was set at 12 degrees BTDC initially and adjusted to
11 degrees BTDC, it would be referred to as retarded.
If the air-fuel mixture is ignited at the correct time, maximum pressure in the
cylinder will occur sometime after the piston reaches TDC allowing the ignited
mixture to push the piston down the cylinder with the greatest force. Ideally, the time
at which the mixture should be fully burnt is about 20 degrees ATDC.

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The Effect of Engine Speed on Ignition Timing

If the ignition spark occurs at a position that is too advanced relative to piston
position, the rapidly expanding air-fuel mixture can actually push against the piston
still moving up, causing knocking (pinging) and possible engine damage.
If the spark occurs too retarded relative to the piston position, maximum cylinder
pressure will occur after the piston is already traveling too far down the cylinder.
This results in lost power, overheating tendencies, high emissions, and unburned
fuel.
The ignition timing will need to become increasingly advanced (relative to TDC) as
the engine speed increases so that the air-fuel mixture has the correct amount of time
to fully burn.
As the engine speed (RPM) increases, the time available to burn the mixture
decreases but the burning itself proceeds at the same speed, it needs to be started
increasingly earlier to complete in time.
Poor volumetric efficiency at lower engine speeds also requires increased
advancement of ignition timing.

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The Effect of Engine Speed on Ignition Timing

The correct timing advance for a given engine speed will allow for maximum
cylinder pressure to be achieved at the correct crankshaft angular position. When
setting the timing for an automobile engine, the factory timing setting can usually be
found on a sticker in the engine bay.
The ignition timing is also dependent on the load of the engine with more load
(larger throttle opening and therefore air:fuel ratio) requiring less advance (the
mixture burns faster). Also it is dependent on the temperature of the engine with
lower temperature allowing for more advance. The speed with which the mixture
burns depends also on the octane rating of the fuel and on the air-fuel ratio.

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Figure 3.8: Example of Timing Map Diagram

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Figure 3.9: Example of Mapping Graph for Tuning

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Figure 3.10: Example of Software for Tuning/Mapping The Engine

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Knocking or Detonation Process in Spark Ignition Engine

Term of Knocking or Detonation


This is one process that happens within the combustion chamber. It sounds like a small
ticking or rattling noise within the engine. In long term, the piston and ring can be
damaged as well as the spark plug and valve.

Term of Surface Ignition and Knocking Phenomenon in Spark Ignition Engine


Refer slide 3 until 6

Factors That Contribute Knocking


Detonation occurs when several conditions / factors inside the combustion chamber
exist at the same time:-
Increased compression advanced ignition timing
high temperatures lower octane fuels are all factors that
PROMOTE detonation conditions
lean fuel/air mixture

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Effects of knocking during engine process


The effects of knocking during engine process are :-
1. a drop in engine performance.
2. pollution of gases from the combustion is incomplete.
3. high consumption of fuel.

Reduce knocking problem during engine process


In this case we have three options to reduce knocking during engine process :-
1. Increase the ignition combustion engine.
2. Reduce the heat the final combustion; enriching the air-fuel ratio which alters the
chemical reactions during combustion, reduces the combustion temperature and
increases the margin above detonation.
3. Use high quality fuel, the use of a fuel with high octane rating, which increases the
combustion temperature of the fuel and reduces the proclivity to detonate.

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Ricardo Diagram

Figure 3.11: Ricardo Diagram With Important Points

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According to Ricardo, There are three stages of combustion in SI Engine as shown :-


1. Ignition lag stage
2. Flame propagation stage
3. After burning stage

Ignition lag stage:


There is a certain time interval between instant of spark and instant where there is a
noticeable rise in pressure due to combustion. This time lag is called IGNITION LAG.
Ignition lag is the time interval in the process of chemical reaction during which
molecules get heated up to self ignition temperature , get ignited and produce a self
propagating nucleus of flame.
The ignition lag is generally expressed in terms of crank angle (q1). The period of
ignition lag is shown by path ab. Ignition lag is very small and lies between 0.00015 to
0.0002 seconds. An ignition lag of 0.002 seconds corresponds to 35 deg crank rotation
when the engine is running at 3000 RPM. Angle of advance increase with the speed.
This is a chemical process depending upon the nature of fuel, temperature and
pressure, proportions of exhaust gas and rate of oxidation or burning.

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Flame propagation stage:


Once the flame is formed at b, it should be self sustained and must be able to
propagate through the mixture. This is possible when the rate of heat generation by
burning is greater than heat lost by flame to surrounding.
After the point b, the flame propagation is abnormally low at the beginning as
heat lost is more than heat generated. Therefore pressure rise is also slow as mass of
mixture burned is small.
Therefore it is necessary to provide angle of advance 30 to 35 deg, if the peak
pressure to be attained 5-10 deg after TDC. The time required for crank to rotate
through an angle q2 is known as combustion period during which propagation of flame
takes place.

After burning:
Combustion will not stop at point c but continue after attaining peak pressure and this
combustion is known as after burning. This generally happens when the rich mixture is
supplied to engine.

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Pressure ( P ) Line 2

Line 1

Line 3

Crank angle ( TCD )

Figure 3.12: Ricardo Diagram

In Figure 3.12 in the Ricardo diagram Line 1 explains the good condition of
combustion. Line 2 explains the overhead and the curve in Line 3 explains late ignition.

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Cylinder Cylinder
Pressure Pressure

Time Time
Figure 3.13: Normal Combustion Figure 3.14: Combustion with light Knocking
with no Knocking

Cylinder
Pressure

Time
Figure 3.15: Combustion with Heavy Knocking
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Effect of engine operating variables on the engine knocking (detonation):

The various engine variable affecting knocking can be classified as :


Temperature factors
Density factors
Time factors
Composition factors

Temperature factors

Increasing the temperature of the unburned mixture increase the possibility of knock in
the SI engine. We shall now discuss the effect of following engine parameters on the
temperature of the unburned mixture:
RAISING THE COMPRESSION RATIO. Increasing the compression ratio increases
both the temperature and pressure (density of the unburned mixture). Increase in
temperature reduces the delay period of the end gas which in turn increases the
tendency to knock.
SUPERCHARGING. It also increases both temperature and density, which increase
the knocking tendency of engine
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Temperature factors

COOLANT TEMPERATURE Delay period decreases with increase of coolant


temperature, decreased delay period increase the tendency to knock.
TEMPERATURE OF THE CYLINDER AND COMBUSTION CHAMBER WALLS:
The temperature of the end gas depends on the design of combustion chamber.
Sparking plug and exhaust valve are two hottest parts in the combustion chamber and
uneven temperature leads to pre-ignition and hence the knocking.

Density factors

Increasing the density of unburnt mixture will increase the possibility of knock in the
engine. The engine parameters which affect the density are as follows:
Increased compression ratio increase the density.
Increasing the load opens the throttle valve more and thus the density.
Supercharging increase the density of the mixture.
Increasing the inlet pressure increases the overall pressure during the cycle. The high
pressure end gas decreases the delay period which increase the tendency of knocking.

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Density factors

Advanced spark timing: quantity of fuel burnt per cycle before and after TDC
position depends on spark timing. The temperature of charge increases by increasing
the spark advance and it increases with rate of burning and does not allow sufficient
time to the end mixture to dissipate the heat and increase the knocking tendency.

Time factors

Increasing the time of exposure of the unburned mixture to auto-ignition conditions


increase the possibility of knock in SI engines.
Flame travel distance: If the distance of flame travel is more, then possibility of
knocking is also more. This problem can be solved by combustion chamber design,
spark plug location and engine size.
Compact combustion chamber will have better anti-knock characteristics, since
the flame travel and combustion time will be shorter. Further, if the combustion
chamber is highly turbulent, the combustion rate is high and consequently combustion
time is further reduced; this further reduces the tendency to knock.

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Time factors

Location of sparkplug: A spark plug which is centrally located in the combustion


chamber has minimum tendency to knock as the flame travel is minimum. The flame
travel can be reduced by using two or more spark plugs.
Location of exhaust valve: The exhaust valve should be located close to the spark
plug so that it is not in the end gas region; otherwise there will be a tendency to
knock.
Engine size: Large engines have a greater knocking tendency because flame requires
a longer time to travel across the combustion chamber. In SI engine therefore ,
generally limited to 100mm.
Turbulence of mixture: decreasing the turbulence of the mixture decreases the flame
speed and hence increases the tendency to knock. Turbulence depends on the design
of combustion chamber and one engine speed.

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Composition

The properties of fuel and A/F ratio are primary means to control knock :
(a) Molecular Structure: The knocking tendency is markedly affected by the type of
the fuel used. Petroleum fuels usually consist of many hydro-carbons of different
molecular structure.
The structure of the fuel molecule has enormous effect on knocking tendency.
Increasing the carbon-chain increases the knocking tendency and centralizing the
carbon atoms decreases the knocking tendency. Unsaturated hydrocarbons have less
knocking tendency than saturated hydrocarbons.
Paraffins:
Increasing the length of carbon chain increases the knocking tendency.
Centralising the carbon atoms decreases the knocking tendency.
Adding methyl group (CH to the side of the carbon chain in the centre position
decreases the knocking tendency.
Olefins:
Introduction of one double bond has little effect on anti-knock quality but two or
three double bond results less knocking tendency except C and C.
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Composition
Napthenes and Aromatic:
Napthenes have greater knocking tendency than corresponding aromatics.
With increasing double-bonds, the knocking tendency is reduced.
Lengthening the side chains increases the knocking tendency whereas branching
of the side chain decreases the knocking tendency.
(b) Fuel-air ratio. The most important effect of fuel-aft ratio is on the reaction time or
ignition delay. When the mixture is nearly 10% richer than stoichiomiric (fuel-air
ratio = 0.08) ignition lag of the end gas is minimum and the velocity of flame
propagation is maximum.
By making the mixture leaner or richer (than F/A 0.08) the tendency to knock
is decreased. A too rich mixture is especially effective in decreasing or eliminating
the knock due to longer delay and lower temperature of compression.
(c) Humidity of air. Increasing atmospheric humidity decreases the tendency to knock
by decreasing the reaction time of the fuel.

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Research Octane Number (RON)


The most common type of octane rating worldwide is the Research Octane
Number (RON). RON is determined by running the fuel in a test engine with a
variable compression ratio under controlled conditions, and comparing the results with
those for mixtures of iso-octane and n-heptane.

Motor Octane Number (MON)


There is another type of octane rating, called Motor Octane Number (MON), is
determined at 900 rpm engine speed instead of the 600 rpm for RON. MON testing uses a
similar test engine to that used in RON testing, but with a preheated fuel mixture, higher
engine speed, and variable ignition timing to further stress the fuel's knock resistance.
Depending on the composition of the fuel, the MON of a modern pump gasoline
will be about 8 to 12 octane lower than the RON, but there is no direct link between RON
and MON. Pump gasoline specifications typically require both a minimum RON and a
minimum MON.

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Catane Number
There is a delay between the time that fuel is injected into the cylinder and the time that
the hot gases ignite. This time period or delay is expressed as a catane number. Catane
number ranges from 30 to 60 on diesel fuel. Catane number is an indication of the
ignition quality of the diesel fuel.
The higher the catane number, the better the ignition quality of the fuel. High
catane numbers should be used to start an engine in cold weather. A catane number of 85
to 96 is often used for starting diesel engines in cold weather.
If a low catane number is used in diesel engine, some of the fuel may not
ignite. The fuel will then accumulate within the cylinder. When combustion finally does
occur, this excess fuel will explode suddenly. This may result in a knocking sound as in
gasoline.

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Fuel Additives

Additives - Chemicals are added to gasoline in very small quantities to improve and
maintain gasoline/fuel quality.

Effects of fuel additives:


to improve combustion and pollutant emissions,
to ensure reduced wear and limit deposit formation during the engine life cycle of
several hundreds of thousands of miles.

Example of Fuel Additives:


1. Oxygenates
Alcohols: Methanol (MeOH)
Ethers: Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), now outlawed in many states of
the U.S. for road use, mostly because of water contamination.
2. Antioxidants, stabilizers
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
3. Antiknock agents
Toluene
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Stoichiometric Ratio

The stoichiometric mixture for a gasoline engine is the ideal ratio of air to fuel that
burns all fuel with no excess air. For gasoline/petrol fuel, the stoichiometric airfuel
mixture is about 14.7:1 i.e. for every one gram of fuel, 14.7 grams of air are required.
The fuel oxidation reaction is:

(Balance chemical equation of air-fuel


ratio for combustion process)

Figure 3.16: Ignition limits for hydrocarbons

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Rich Mixture
Fuel-air mixtures with less than stoichiometri cair can also burn. With less than
stoichiometric air you get fuel rich combustion, there is insufficient oxygen to oxidize
all the C and H in the fuel to CO2 and H2O.
Get incomplete combustion where carbon monoxide (CO) and molecular
hydrogen (H2) also appear in the products.

where for fuel rich mixture have insufficient air ; < 1

Lean Mixture
Fuel-air mixtures with more than stoichiometric air, excess air, can burn. With excess
air you get fuel lean combustion, the extra air appears in the products in unchanged
form.

where for fuel lean mixture have excess air so > 1


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