A late injection, high exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR)-rate, low-temperature combustion strategy was investigated in a heavy-duty diesel engine using a suite of optical diagnostics: chemiluminescence for visualization of ignition and combustion, laser Mie scattering for liquid fuel imaging, planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) for both OH and vapor-fuel imaging, and laser-induced incandescence (LII) for soot imaging. Fuel is injected at top dead center when the in-cylinder gases are hot and dense. Consequently, the maximum liquid fuel penetration is 27 mm, which is short enough to avoid wall impingement. The cool flame starts 4.5 crank angle degrees (CAD) after the start of injection (ASI), midway between the injector and bowl-rim, and likely helps fuel to vaporize. Within a few CAD, the cool-flame combustion reaches the bowl-rim. A large premixed combustion occurs near 9 CAD ASI, close to the bowl rim. Soot is visible shortly afterwards along the walls, typically between two adjacent jets at the head vortex location. OH PLIF indicates that premixed combustion first occurs within the jet and then spreads along the bowl rim in a thin layer, surrounding soot pockets at the start of the mixing-controlled combustion phase near 17 CAD ASI. During the mixing-controlled phase, soot is not fully oxidized and is still present near the bowl-rim late in the cycle. At the end of combustion near 27 CAD ASI, averaged PLIF images indicate two separate zones. OH PLIF appears near the bowl rim, while broadband PLIF persists late in the cycle near the injector. The most likely source of broadband PLIF is unburned fuel, which indicates that the near-injector region is a potential source of unburned hydrocarbons.

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