In-cylinder surface temperature has significant impacts on the thermo-kinetics governing the Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) process. Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBCs) enable selective manipulation of combustion chamber surface temperature profiles throughout a fired cycle. In this way, TBCs enable a dynamic surface temperature swing, which prevents charge heating during intake while minimizing heat rejection during combustion. This preserves volumetric efficiency while fostering more complete combustion and reducing emissions.
This study investigates the effect of a Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) coating on Low Temperature Combustion (LTC) engine combustion, efficiency, and emissions. This is an initial step in a systematic effort to engineer coatings best suited for LTC concepts. A YSZ coating was applied to the top of the aluminum piston using a powder Air Plasma Spray process, Final thickness of the coatings was approximately 150 microns. The coated piston was subsequently evaluated in the single-cylinder HCCI engine with exhaust re-induction.
Engine tests indicated significant advancement of the autoignition point and reduced combustion durations with the YSZ coating. Hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions were reduced, thereby increasing combustion efficiency. The combination of higher combustion efficiency and decreased heat loss during combustion produced tangible improvements in thermal efficiency. When the effects of combustion advance were removed, the overall improvements in emissions and efficiency were lower, but still significant. Overall, the results encourage continued efforts to devise novel coatings for LTC.