The effects of orifice diameter on several aspects of diesel fuel jet flame structure were investigated in a constant-volume combustion vessel under heavy-duty, direct-injection (DI) diesel engine conditions using Phillips research grade #2 diesel fuel and orifice diameters ranging from 45 μm to 180 μm. The overall flame structure was visualized with time-averaged OH chemiluminescence and soot luminosity images acquired during the quasi-steady portion of the diesel combustion event that occurs after the transient premixed burn is completed and the flame length is established. The lift-off length, defined as the farthest upstream location of high-temperature combustion, and the flame length were determined from the OH chemiluminescence images. In addition, relative changes in the amount of soot formed for various conditions were determined from the soot incandescence images.

Combined with previous investigations of liquid-phase fuel penetration and spray development, the results show that air entrainment upstream of the lift-off length (relative to the amount of fuel injected) is very sensitive to orifice diameter. As orifice diameter decreases, the relative air entrainment upstream of the lift-off length increases significantly. The increased relative air entrainment results in a reduced overall average equivalence ratio in the fuel jet at the lift-off length and reduced soot luminosity downstream of the lift-off length. The reduced soot luminosity indicates that the amount of soot formed relative to the amount of fuel injected decreases with orifice diameter. The flame lengths determined from the images agree well with gas jet theory for momentum-driven, non-premixed turbulent flames.

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