This study presents fundamentals of spray and partially premixed combustion characteristics of directly injected methane inside a constant volume combustion chamber (CVCC). The constant volume vessel is a cylinder with inside diameter of 135 mm and inside height of 135 mm. Two end of the vessel are equipped with optical windows. A high speed complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) camera capable of capturing pictures up to 40,000 frames per second is used to observe flow conditions inside the chamber. The injected fuel jet generates turbulence in the vessel and forms a turbulent heterogeneous fuel–air mixture in the vessel, similar to that in a compressed natural gas (CNG) direct injection engine. The fuel–air mixture is ignited by centrally located electrodes at a given spark delay timing of 1, 40, 75 and 110 milliseconds after fuel injection has been completed to reflect different turbulence intensities. For comparative study, by increasing the spark delay timing to five minutes, a homogeneous premixed mixture is also prepared in the vessel which provides information on laminar homogeneous mixture combustion.

Spray development and characterization including spray tip penetration, spray cone angle and overall equivalence ratio were investigated under 30–90 bar fuel pressures and 1–5 bar chamber pressure. Flame propagation images and combustion characteristics were determined via pressure-derived parameters and analyzed at a fuel pressure of 90 bar and a chamber pressure of 1 bar at different stratification ratios (from 0% to 100%) at overall equivalence ratios of 0.6, 0.8 and 1.0. Shorter combustion duration and higher combustion pressure were observed in direct injection-type combustion at all fuel air equivalence ratios compared to those of homogenous combustion.

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