Spark assist appears to offer considerable potential for increasing the speed and load range over which homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) is possible in gasoline engines. Numerous experimental studies of the transition between conventional spark-ignited (SI) propagating-flame combustion and HCCI combustion in gasoline engines with spark assist have demonstrated a high degree of deterministic coupling between successive combustion events. Analysis of this coupling suggests that the transition between SI and HCCI can be described as a sequence of bifurcations in a low-dimensional dynamic map. In this paper we describe methods for utilizing the deterministic relationship between cycles to extract global kinetic rate parameters that can be used to discriminate multiple distinct combustion states and develop a more quantitative understanding of the SI-HCCI transition. We demonstrate the application of these methods for indolene-containing fuels and point out an apparent HCCI mode switching not previously reported. Our results have specific implications for developing dynamic combustion models and feedback control strategies that utilize spark-assist to expand the operating range of HCCI combustion.

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