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UBC Theses and Dissertations

CFD modeling of injection strategies in a high-pressure direct-injection (HPDI) natural gas engine Kheirkhah, Pooyan


Direct injection of natural gas in compression-ignition engines offers benefits such as emissions reduction, fuel diversity, and energy security. However, in order to meet the upcoming stringent emissions regulations, further improvements in the performance of the High-Pressure Direct-Injection of Natural Gas (HPDI-NG) is needed. For this reason, different natural gas injection strategies and nozzle designs are numerically studied. The in-cylinder phenomena during the closed portion of the cycle is simulated using a Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) turbulence model and the Trajectory-Generated Low Dimensional Manifold (TGLDM) for chemistry coupling. Soot is modeled with a two-equation Hiroyasu model. To partially investigate the effect of LES variability, simulations with successive mesh refinements and infinitesimally varied inputs are carried out. Anticipated emission trends were observed for parametric sweeps with substantial variation of soot about the trend-line. This motivated the analysis of in-cylinder mixture, jet penetration and other more robust metrics. A novel paired-nozzle geometry was designed to increase the fuel-air mixing at the base of the jet, thus reducing soot. In reality, the paired jets increased exhaust PM. The CFD analysis revealed that the gas jet penetration was reduced compared to the baseline single-hole jet, while more air was entrained into the core of the jet. However, the effect of mixing due to impaired penetration dominates and results in more rich mixture and therefore more soot. CFD predicted the PM reduction benefits of “Late Post-Injection” (LPI) due to two major reasons: 1- the reduction in formed PM from the 1st pulse due to shortened pulse width, 2- negligible PM formation from the 2nd pulse for enough pulse separation. A second injection strategy, “Slightly Premixed Combustion” (SPC) also reduced PM in experiments. The CFD package had not been developed for such combustion regime, wherein the diesel-gas kinetic interactions should be resolved; hence perfect matching between the experimental and numerical combustion for SPC was not attained. Nevertheless, by optimizing the injection timing to resemble the phasing of experimental Heat Release Rate (HRR) curve, to the “best extent possible”, more premixing, higher rate of penetration, and less rich-mixture mass was observed.

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