The operation and emissions of a four cylinder, passenger car common-rail diesel engine operating with two different fuels was investigated on the basis of exhaust stream and in-cylinder soot measurements, as well as a thermodynamic analysis of the combustion process. The two fuels considered were a standard diesel fuel and a synthetic diesel (fuel two) with a lower aromatic content, evaporation temperature, and cetane number than the standard diesel. The exhaust stream soot emissions, measured using an FSN system, as well as a photo-acoustic soot sensor (AVL Micro Soot Sensor), were lower with the second fuel throughout the entire engine operating map. To elucidate the cause of the reduced exhaust stream soot emissions, the in-cylinder soot temperature and KL factor (proportional to concentration) were measured using miniature, three color pyrometers mounted in the glow plug bores. Using the maximum KL factor value to quantify the soot formation process, it was seen that for all operating points, less soot was formed in the combustion chamber using the second fuel. The oxidation of the soot, however, was not strongly influenced by the fuel, as the relative oxidized soot fraction was not significantly different for the two fuels. The reduced soot formation of fuel two was attributed to the lower aromatic content of the fuel. The soot cloud temperatures for operation with the two fuels were not seen differ significantly. Similar correlations between the cylinder-out soot emissions, characterized using the pyrometers, and the exhaust stream soot emissions were seen for both fuels. The combustion process itself, was only seen to differ between the two fuels to a much lesser degree than the soot formation process. The predominant differences were seen as higher maximum fuel conversion rates during premixed combustion at several operating points, when fuel two was used. This was attributed to the lower evaporation temperatures and longer ignition delays (characterized by the lower cetane number) leading to larger premixed combustion fractions.

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