A numerical study of ignition and combustion in a glow plug (GP) assisted direct-injection natural gas (DING) engine is presented in this paper. The glow plug is shielded and the shield design is an important part of the combustion system development. The results simulated by KIVA-3V indicated that the ignition delay (ID) predicted by an in-cylinder pressure rise was different from that based on a temperature rise, attributed to the additional time required to burn more fuel to obtain a detectable pressure rise in the combustion chamber. This time difference for the ignition delay estimation can be 0.5 ms, which is significant relative to an ignition delay value of less than 2 ms. To further evaluate the time difference between the two different methods of ignition delay determination, sensitivity studies were conducted by changing the glow plug temperature, and rotating the glow plug shield opening angle towards the fuel jets. The results indicated that the ID method time difference varied from 0.3 to 0.8 ms for different combustion chamber configurations. In addition, this study also investigated the influences of different glow plug shield parameters on the natural gas ignition and combustion characteristics, by modifying the air gap between the glow plug and its shield, and by changing the shield opening size. The computational results indicated that a bigger air gap inside the shield can delay gas ignition, and a smaller shield opening can block the flame propagation for some specific fuel injection angles.

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