You are on page 1of 7

Energy & Fuels 2003, 17, 755-761 755

Effect of Residual Gas Fraction on the Combustion


Characteristics of Butane-Air Mixtures in the
Constant-Volume Chamber
Myung Yoon Kim, Dae Sik Kim, and Chang Sik Lee*
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hanyang University, 17 Haengdang-dong,
Sungdong-ku, Seoul 133-791, Korea

Received March 28, 2002

An experimental study was made to investigate the effect of residual gas on the combustion
characteristics and flame propagation of butane-air mixtures in a constant-volume combustion
chamber. The combustion process and flame propagation are studied under different ratios of
residual gas and various equivalence ratios in the combustion chamber. The effects of the residual
gas ratio on the combustion pressure, heat release rate, burned fraction, and flame propagation
phenomena were studied in detail. The experimental apparatus consists of a constant-volume
combustion chamber, a premixture chamber, a data acquisition system, and a laser Schlieren
system with a high-speed camera. With an increase of the residual gas ratio in the combustion
chamber, the combustion pressure and the rate of heat release decrease and the burning period
of the fuel-air mixture is reduced by the increase of residual gas. The effects of residual gas on
the combustion characteristics and flame propagation speed are dependent on the amount of
residual gas. In the case of a higher residual gas ratio (more than 10%) in the chamber, the
combustion pressure and heat release are steeply decreased. It is confirmed that residual gas in
the combustion chamber lowered the rate of heat release as a result of the decrease of combustion
temperature. The flame propagation speed decreases with the increase of residual gas in the
combustion chamber.

1. Introduction is effective in reducing NOx emissions,3 but the problem


with exhaust gas recycling is an increase of the par-
The nitrogen oxide (NOx) concentration of the exhaust ticulate matter. Shiozaki et al. measured the flame
gas from the automotive engine is primarily a function temperature under EGR conditions with a two-color
of combustion temperature. So, the most effective way imaging CCD camera.4 Also, Mitchell et al. measured
of reducing NOx emission is to keep the combustion the relationship between exhaust gas recirculation and
temperature down. Reduction of NOx formation by intake air dilution on combustion through the optic
diluting the incoming air-fuel mixture with a small access in a diesel engine.5 They indicated that flame
amount of inert gas is the simplest practical method. temperature had a major influence on nitrogen oxide
Air is available for a diluent gas, but it is not a non- and that carbon monoxide emissions were influenced
reacting mixture like the exhaust gas. mainly by the O2 fraction in the intake air. Fundamen-
Tabata et al. investigated the effect of EGR (exhaust tal studies on exhaust gas recirculation have been
gas recirculation) under stoichiometric and lean mixture carried out by many researchers, both theoretically and
conditions and compared it with the effect of lean opera- experimentally.6-8
tion through the exhaust gas recirculation.1 Arcoumanis
Most of the previous researchers conducted engine
et al. analyzed the effect of various levels of EGR on
tests to investigate the overall effect of exhaust gas
the combustion characteristics in the four-cylinder
recycling on emission control. But, these studies of
direct-injection optical diesel engine.2 Their study re-
engine combustion in the case of EGR have many
vealed that the increase of EGR rate showed higher
uncertainties as a result of the difficulties of conducting
cyclic pressure variations during the warm-up period
experiments in the actual engine. From this point of
and reduced flame core temperatures. In the spark
ignition engine, the most practical approach for the re-
(3) Baert, R. S. G.; Beckman, D. E.; Verbeek, R. P. Soc. Automot.
duction of exhaust emission and improvement of engine Eng. 1996; No. 960848.
stability is to control the combustion period by enhanced (4) Shiozaki, T.; Nakajima, H.; Kudo, Y.; Miyashita, A.; Aoyagi, Y.
mixture flow in the cylinder. It is well-known that EGR Soc. Automot. Eng. 1996; No. 960323.
(5) Mitchell, D.; Pinson, J. A.; Lizinger, T. A. Soc. Automot. Eng.
1996; No. 932798.
* Corresponding Author. Phone: +82-2-2290-0427. Fax: +82-2- (6) Durnholz, M.; Eifler, G.; Endres, H. Soc. Automot. Eng. 1996;
2281-5286. E-mail: cslee@ hanyang.ac.kr. No. 920725.
(1) Tabata, M.; Yamamoto, T.; Fukube, T. Soc. Automot. Eng. 1995; (7) Mouqallid, M.; Lecodier, B.; Trinite, M. Soc. Automot. Eng. 1994;
No. 950684. No. 941990.
(2) Arcoumanis, C.; Bae, C.; Nagwaney, A.; Whitelaw, J. H. Soc. (8) Ropke, S.; Schweimer, G. W.; Strauss, T. S. Soc. Automot. Eng.
Automot. Eng. 1995; No. 950850. 1995; No. 950213.

10.1021/ef0200774 CCC: $25.00 © 2003 American Chemical Society


Published on Web 04/29/2003
756 Energy & Fuels, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2003 Kim et al.

Figure 2. Constant-volume combustion chamber.

Figure 1. Schematic diagram of experimental apparatus.

view, the effect of residual gas on combustion in a con-


stant-volume combustion chamber is important to un-
derstand as the influencing factor for the reduction of
combustion temperature and formation of emissions.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influ-
ence of residual gas ratio on the combustion and flame
propagation characteristics in the constant-volume com- Figure 3. Schematic diagram of the optical system.
bustion chamber. The information obtained from the
experimental results provides detailed combustion char- Ignition was achieved by a transistorized coil ignition
system (TCI) with electronic ignition using a 12 V power
acteristics such as combustion pressure, the rate of heat
supply. To ignite the mixture in the center of the combustion
release, mass fraction burned, and the visualization of chamber, the spark plug was elongated to the center of the
the flame propagation under the various equivalence combustion chamber.
ratios and residual gas ratios. 2.2. Experimental Procedures. The instantaneous pres-
sure variation in the combustion chamber was monitored by
2. Experimental Section a piezoelectric pressure transducer (Kistler, 6061B) connected
to a charge amplifier. The output of the amplifier was input
2.1. Experimental Apparatus. In a spark ignition engine, to the data acquisition system (Keithley, DAS-58), which
the combustion happens ideally near the top dead center at digitized and stored the voltage signal with a sampling rate
the end of the compression stroke, and this period of the stroke of 1 kHz.
cycle is regarded as constant-volume combustion. In this study, Figure 3 shows a schematic diagram of the optical system
the constant-volume combustion chamber was made to inves- for combustion visualization. The system of combustion visu-
tigate the influence of the residual gas ratio on combustion alization was achieved by a high-speed Schlieren system,
phenomena. Figure 1 shows the schematic diagram of experi- which consists of a light source, concave mirror (300 mm), and
mental apparatus. The test rig consists of the constant-volume a high-speed camera (maximum 3000 fps, Phantom). The high-
combustion chamber, the fuel supply system, the ignition speed Schlieren system and optical system were used to
system, and the data acquisition system. A signal generator visualize the flame propagation in the combustion chamber.
was used for synchronization of the ignition system, pressure A He-Ne laser was used as a light source, with maximum
data acquisition system, and high-speed camera. output of 10 mW and light wavelength of 632.8 nm. Flame
Butane and air were premixed in a premixture chamber propagation speed was calculated from the Schlieren images
where their equivalence ratio was determined on the basis of (512 × 512 pixel, 1000 fps).
their partial pressures measured by a diaphragm pressure The experiments were performed for 5 kinds of residual gas
transducer. The total volume of the premixture chamber was ratio that included the range of 0.8 to 1.2 of equivalence ratio
measured to be 3290 cm3, and the fan at the bottom of the and initial mixture pressure from 1 to 5 bar. The fuel and air
premixture chamber was operated by electronic control. A were mixed in a premixing chamber, where their equivalence
heater of 1 kW was installed to avoid fuel liquefaction under ratio was determined on the basis of the partial pressures of
high pressure in the chamber. component gases such as air and fuel as measured by a
The constant-volume combustion chamber consists of a pressure transducer.
cylindrical chamber, an intake and exhaust valve, and an igni- A constant-volume combustion chamber is filled with a
tion system, as shown in Figure 2. The combustion chamber butane-air mixture at each equivalence ratio, and the mixture
is a cylindrical shape with a diameter of 100 mm and a depth is allowed enough time to decay completely in the chamber to
of 40 mm. It has extensive optical windowssa pair of 130 mm make a quiescent flow condition. When the burned gas
diameter and 30 mm thickness quartz windows mounted on temperature decreased to the same temperature as that of
both sides of the combustion chamber, which has a volume of the combustion chamber, the burned gas was discharged and
341 cm3. Two plate electrical heaters (300 W) were installed then as much as the amount of burned gas that corresponds
on the outside walls of the combustion chamber and coupled to the residual gas ratio. At the same initial pressure con-
to a K-type thermocouple. This system allows the temperature dition, the fixed amount of fresh mixture is supplied to the
of the chamber to be kept constant at 363 K in order to prevent combustion chamber. The fuel used in this experiment is
water condensation on the windows after combustion. butane.
Combustion Characteristics of Butane-Air Mixtures Energy & Fuels, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2003 757

Figure 4. Time history of combustion pressure at different Figure 5. Effect of residual gas on the combustion pressure
equivalent ratios. at stoichiometric equivalence ratios.

2.3. Residual Gas Ratio and Heat Release. In this


experiment, the residual gas ratio rRG in the combustion
chamber is defined as

mRG
rRG ) × 100 (%) (1)
mmix + mRG

where mRG and mmix are the mass of residual gas and mass of
butane-air mixture (without residual gas), respectively. The
butane-air mixture with residual gas composition was ob-
tained as follows. A constant-volume combustion chamber is
filled with a butane-air mixture at each equivalence ratio,
and it is ignited by an electric spark plug. After the burned
gas temperature was decreased to that of the test condition,
the burned gas was discharged with the state of test residual
gas ratio. And the burned gas and fresh fuel-air were mixed
in a combustion chamber where the residual gas ratio was
determined on the basis of their partial pressure.
Also, initial pressure in the combustion chamber increases
with the increase of residual gas fraction as follows:

Pi ) Pmix + PRG (2)

where Pi is the initial pressure in the combustion chamber


(with residual gas), Pmix is the pressure of the fuel-air mixture
gas, and PRG is the pressure of the residual gas. Figure 6. Effect of residual gas on the combustion pressure
The experiments were carried out for each condition, which at Φ ) 0.8 and 1.2.
included five residual gas ratios (0, 5, 10, 15, and 20%)
at various equivalence ratios from 0.8 to 1.2 and various In this paper, the combustion duration was defined as
fuel-air mixture pressures. Also, the residual gas ratio elapsed time required to reach the maximum pressure from
was controlled from 0 to 20% with 5% intervals at each spark ignition in a constant-volume combustion chamber.
experimental condition. The combustion characteristics were Also, in order to determine the heat release rate, if we ignore
obtained from the pressure data in the combustion cham- the heat transfer to the combustion chamber wall, the first
ber, and the flame propagation characteristics were ana- law equation can be written as follows:
lyzed by the optical system and high-speed digital camera
system. dQ dT dV
) mcv +P (4)
The mass fraction burned Mb(τ), was calculated from the dτ dτ dτ
measured pressure trace on the basis of the assumption that
combustion pressure corresponds to the mass fraction, and it where dQ is the gross heat energy released as a result of
can be expressed as follows: combustion, m is the mass of the mixture, cv is the specific
heat at constant volume, dT is the gas temperature change in
P(τ) - Pi the combustion chamber, P is the pressure in the combustion
Mb(τ) ) (3) chamber, and dV is the change in the cylinder volume.
Pmax - Pi Applying the ideal gas equation to the gas mixture in the
combustion chamber and differentiating about time
where Mb(τ) is the mass fraction burned at time τ, P(τ) is the
instant pressure in the combustion chamber, Pi is the initial PV ) mRT (5)
pressure in the combustion chamber before combustion, and
Pmax is the maximum combustion pressure in the combustion dV dP dT
P +V ) mR (6)
chamber. dτ dτ dτ
758 Energy & Fuels, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2003 Kim et al.

Figure 7. Effect of initial pressure on combustion duration. Figure 9. Effect of residual gas ratio and equivalent ratio on
the combustion duration (Pmix ) 3 bar).

Figure 8. Effect of residual gas ratio on the maximum


combustion pressure at Pmix ) 3 bar.

Substitution of eq 6 into eq 4 and rearrangement of the


terms give the usual form of the first law of heat release
equation:

dQ 1 dP κ dV
) V + P (7)
dτ κ - 1 dτ κ - 1 dτ

where κ is the ratio of specific heats.


Figure 10. Effect of residual gas on the mass fraction burned.
3. Experimental Results and Discussion
shows that the combustion pressure decreases with an
3.1. Effect of Residual Gas on Combustion Char- increase of residual gas ratio. This is a result of the
acteristics. Figure 4 shows the effect of the equivalence increase of the inert gas fraction that the residual mass
ratio on the combustion pressure history in the combus- left over from the previous combustion in the chamber.
tion chamber at an initial mixture pressure of 3 bar As a result of the residual fraction, the combustion dura-
(without residual gas). The maximum pressure appears tion is increased with the increase of residual gas ratio
in the equivalence ratio Φ ) 1.2. Figure 5 shows the and equivalence ratio. As indicated in Figure 6, there
effect of residual gas on the combustion pressure in the are very small variations of maximum pressure with the
chamber at the mixture pressure of 3 bar and equiva- increase of the residual gas ratio at low equivalence
lence ratio of 1.0. As shown in Figure 5, the peak value ratio of Φ ) 0.8. In the range of lean mixture, it cannot
of combustion pressure decreases with an increase of be fired at over 15% of the residual gas ratio. Also, the
the residual gas fraction in the chamber because of the timing at which the maximum pressure appears is
inert effect of the residual gas. Also, the length of time retarded in proportion to the increase of the residual
required to reach the maximum value of the combustion gas fraction in the mass of mixture.
pressure is retarded in accordance with the increase of The effects of initial pressure on the total combustion
residual gas ratio. The effects of residual gas on the duration under various residual gas conditions are
combustion pressure in the chamber at different equiva- illustrated in Figure 7. The total combustion period was
lence ratios are illustrated in Figure 6. This figure proportional to the increase of initial pressure.
Combustion Characteristics of Butane-Air Mixtures Energy & Fuels, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2003 759

Figure 11. Effect of residual gas ratio on the rate of heat release at different equivalence ratios.

Figure 8 shows the effect of equivalence ratio on the 3.2. Mass Fraction Burned and Heat-Release
maximum pressure with different residual gas ratios. Rate. Thermodynamic analysis of measured cylinder
The residual gas ratios are slightly affected by the maxi- pressure data is a very powerful tool used for quantify-
mum pressure at the range within 10% of the residual ing combustion parameters.9,10 There are two main
fraction. However, in the case of higher residual gas approaches, which are often referred to as “burn-rate
ratios, the maximum combustion pressures are steeply analysis” and “heat-release analysis”. Burn-rate analy-
decreased. sis is used mainly to obtain the mass fraction burned,
Figure 9 shows the influence of the residual gas ratio which is a normalized quantity with a scale of 0 to 1.
on the combustion duration for different equivalent Heat-release analysis is used to produce absolute en-
ratios. As the residual gas fraction in the chamber is ergy. The rate of heat release is a very important
increased, the combustion duration is longer than that parameter because this has a very significant influence
of the lower ratio of residual gas. As illustrated in the on pressure-rise rate and NOx emissions.
figures, the difference of the combustion durations Figure 10 shows the mass fraction burned at the
between 0% and 20% of residual gas ratio is very residual gas ratios rRG ) 0% and rRG ) 10%. With an
large since a high residual gas ratio brings about the
(9) Kodah, Z. H.; Soliman, H. S.; Abu Qudais, M.; Jahmany, Z. A.
decrease of combustion temperature and an increase of Appl. Energy 2000, 66, 237-250.
heat loss. (10) Krieger, R. B.; Borman, G. L. ASME 1966; 66-WA/DGP-4.
760 Energy & Fuels, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2003 Kim et al.

Figure 12. Schlieren pictures of flame propagation in various


residual gas ratios at Pmix ) 3 bar.

increase of residual gas ratio, the total combustion Figure 13. Effect of residual gas ratio on the flame propaga-
duration increases, as shown in the comparison of mass tion speed.
fraction burned. Moreover, the combustion durations
were considerably affected by residual gas in the rich the chamber, the flame propagation speed decreases, as
equivalence ratios. shown in the pictures.
Figure 11 shows the effect of residual gas ratio on the Figure 13 shows the measured flame speed obtained
heat-release rate. As indicated in the figures, the peak by a Schlieren picture at three equivalence ratios and
value of the heat-release rate was rapidly decreased variable residual gas ratio. The flame speed was calcu-
and its timing was retarded at high residual gas lated from digitized video images consisting of a 512 ×
ratios. From these results of pressure and heat-release 512 pixel array. Also, image processing software was
rate, it can be inferred that the increase in residual used to calculate the diameters of the flame. Under the
fraction in the mass of the mixture plays an important effect of buoyancy, the center of the flame was raised
role in the decrease of maximum temperature in the and the flame shape was distorted with a high residual
chamber. gas ratio. Therefore, the diameters of the flame were
3.3. Effect of Residual Gas on Flame Propaga- calculated from the left and right end of the flame
tion. The speed of flame propagation is dependent on surface and flame speed was calculated from the diam-
the residual gas fraction and equivalence ratio. The eters. As illustrated in the flame pictures, flame speed
effects of residual gas fraction on the flame propagation is fastest when the flame passes through the middle
are shown in Figure 12. The flame behaviors of a region of the combustion chamber. In the case of higher
mixture are obtained from a continuous recording of a residual gas ratios, the flame speed is very low com-
single spark event. In the case of rRG ) 20%, flame core pared to the same condition without residual gas. The
shape is an ellipsoidal trace because of interaction speed of early flame propagation is lower than the
between spark energy and heat transfer with the intermediate stage because of higher heat loss at the
buoyancy. With an increase in the residual gas ratio in early stage of combustion. Also, influenced by the rise
Combustion Characteristics of Butane-Air Mixtures Energy & Fuels, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2003 761

of unburned gas pressure, flame propagation speed is chamber influences the burning period. In the case of a
slightly lower in the final stage than in the intermediate higher residual gas ratio in the chamber, the combustion
stage. characteristics such as combustion pressure and heat
release are steeply decreased.
4. Conclusions
(3) The residual gas ratios are slightly affected at the
An experimental study was carried out to investigate maximum pressure at the range within 10% of the resid-
the influence of the residual gas on the combustion char- ual gas fraction. In the case of a higher residual gas
acteristics and flame propagation in a constant-volume ratio, the maximum pressure of gas in the combustion
chamber. The effect of residual gas on the combustion chamber is steeply decreased, compared to the case of
characteristics and flame propagation speed are ana- a lower residual gas ratio.
lyzed by using the constant-volume chamber with an (4) The flame propagation speed is dependent on the
optical arrangement and a high-speed Schlieren system. residual gas ratio and equivalence ratio. With an in-
The main results of this work are summarized as crease of the residual gas portion in the chamber, the
follows: flame propagation speed decreases.
(1) The combustion pressure and heat release rate of
the butane-air mixture were decreased in accordance
with an increase of residual gas ratio. It is confirmed Acknowledgment. This work is supported by the
that the residual gas effect shows a lowered rate of heat fund of National Center for Cleaner Production of Korea
release as a result of the decrease of combustion Institute of Industrial Technology (Project No.: 99-1-
temperature. K-34).
(2) From the result of mass fraction burned, the
increase of residual gas fraction in the constant-volume EF0200774