Direct injection natural gas (DING) engines offer the advantages of high thermal efficiency and high power output compared to spark ignition natural gas engines. Injected natural gas requires some form of ignition assist in order to ignite in the time available in a diesel engine combustion chamber. A glow plug — a heated surface — is one form of ignition assist.
Simple experiments show that the thickness of the heat penetration layer of a glow plug is very small (≈10−5 m) within the time scale of the ignition preparation period (1–2 ms). Meanwhile, the theoretical analyses reveal that only a very thin layer of the surrounding gases (in micrometer scale) can be heated to high temperature to achieve spontaneous ignition. A discretized glow plug model and virtual gas sub-layer model have been developed for CFD modeling of glow plug ignition and combustion for DING diesel engines.
In this paper, CFD modeling results are presented. The results were obtained using a KIVA3 code modified to include the above mentioned new developed models. Natural gas ignition over a bare glow plug was simulated. The results were validated against experiments. Simulation of natural gas ignition over a shielded glow plug was also carried out and the results illustrate the necessity of using a shield.
This paper shows the success of the discretized glow plug model working together with the virtual gas sub-layer model for modeling glow plug assisted natural gas direct injection engines. The modeling can aid in the design of injection and ignition systems for glow plug assisted DING engines.