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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J003573/1
Title: Towards In-Combustion-Event Feedback (ICEF) Control by Laser Ignition
Principal Investigator: Dearden, Professor G
Other Investigators:
Shenton, Dr AT Chakraborty, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cambustion Ford Motor Co
Department: Centre for Materials and Structures
Organisation: University of Liverpool
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2012 Ends: 04 March 2016 Value (£): 824,177
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Feb 2012 Engineering Prioritisation Meeting - 3 Feb 2012 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The project seeks to explore the science of laser ignition (LI) based control & sensing of combustion, leading towards In-Combustion-Event Feedback (ICEF) control in future internal combustion (IC) engines. The main objectives are to pursue optimisation of LI & sensing for next generation engine configurations, to provide knowledge to extend the stratified GDI combustion envelope by cycle-to-cycle variation reduction, to enhance fuel efficiency by up to 20% & progress towards large-scale engine NOX & HC emissions reduction. The work will explore dynamically varying temporal & spatial multi-point LI, rapid real-time optical sensing of combustion signatures and robust feedback control strategies for multi-point ICEF. It is widely accepted that the IC engine will continue to be the main vehicle power plant over the next 10-15 years, before significant displacement by other technologies (such as fuel cell based plant) takes place. To meet environmental legislation requirements, automotive manufactures continue to address two critical aspects of engine performance: fuel economy & exhaust gas emissions. New engines are becoming increasingly complex, with advanced combustion mechanisms that burn an increasing range of fuels to meet future goals on performance, fuel economy and emissions. In the spark-ignition (SI) engine, the spark plug has remained largely unchanged since its invention and limits the potential for improving efficiency due to its poor ability to ignite highly dilute air-fuel mixtures. Also vital to optimising engine performance is the sensing & diagnostics for high speed feedback control, but accurate real-time in-cylinder sensing is currently prohibitively expensive. LI offers several potential solutions, including the ability to ignite highly dilute air-fuel mixtures. Due to recent laser technology advances, the range of combustion control parameters can now be widened to include laser wavelength, pulse duration, spatial & temporal optical energy distribution, single & multiple ignition events. The opportunity now exists to explore how the dynamic selection of these variables can be optimised for more efficient and cleaner combustion over the widest range of engine operating conditions. The holistic systems approach will include making use of a self-cleaned optical pathway for both LI & feedback sensing purposes, to allow information-rich monitoring and control of combustion to be explored. An extensive programme is needed to establish basic engineering science for highly optimised combustion control by LI to suit specific engine configurations, operating conditions and fuel types. The key research hypothesis is that LI is a viable route to active feedback control of combustion, both cycle-by-cycle & ultimately within the combustion event, by multi-point / event actuation & delay-free self-cleaning laser optic virtual sensing. As well as progress towards the goal of full ICEF control, it will provide shorter term exploitation potential for in cycle-by-cycle combustion feedback control. The research methods to be adopted comprise novel work in: a/ the study of LI mechanisms for combustion control by high-speed ICEF, derived from laser wavelength tuning & spatially & temporally varied energy delivery in multiple foci to suit injection mode, absorption & combustion properties of fuel mixtures; b/ simultaneous use of a self-cleaned optical pathway for real-time in-event light signature capture from LI; c/ the use of sensor data & LI mechanisms for robust optimised ICEF control; d/the use of SLMs as a means to multipoint LI; e/ the optimisation of combustion control using Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) studies. Use of the team's existing engine control facilities & liaison with FMC will allow study of rapid feedback control & its associated computer control issues, conducted through instrumented powertrain control experiments, with control strategies optimised via computational combustion research.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.liv.ac.uk