High-speed imaging combined with the optical access provided by a research engine offer the ability to directly image and compare ignition and combustion phenomena of various fuels. Such data provide valuable insight into the physical and chemical mechanisms important in each system. In this study, crank-angle resolved imaging data were used to investigate homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) operation of a single-cylinder four-valve optical engine fueled using gasoline, indolene, and iso-octane. Lean operating limits were the focus of the study with the primary objective of identifying different modes of reaction front initiation and propagation for each fuel. HCCI combustion was initiated and maintained over a range of lean conditions for various fuels, from φ = 0.77 to 0.27. The time-resolved imaging and pressure data show high rates of heat release in HCCI combustion correlate temporally to simultaneous, intense volumetric blue emission. Lower rates of heat release are characteristic of spatially-resolved blue emission. Gasoline supported leaner HCCI operation than indolene. Iso-octane showed a dramatic transition into misfire. Similar regions of preferential ignition were identified for each of the fuels considered using the imaging data.

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