The performance of a methane direct injection engine was investigated under various fuel injection timings and injection pressures. A single-cylinder optical engine was used to acquire in-cylinder pressure data and flame images. An outward-opening injector was installed at the center of the cylinder head.
Experimental results showed that the combustion characteristics were strongly influenced by the end of injection timing rather than the start of injection timing. Late injection enhanced the combustion speed because the short duration between the end of injection and the spark induced strong turbulence. The flame propagation speeds under various injection timings were directly compared using crank-angle-resolved sequential flame images. The injection pressure was not an important factor in the combustion; the three injection pressure cases of 0.5, 0.8, and 1.1 MPa yielded similar combustion trends. In the cases of late injection, the injection timings of which were near the Intake Valve Closing (IVC) timing, the volumetric efficiency was higher (by 4%) than in the earlier injection cases. This result implies that the methane direct injection engine can achieve higher torque by means of the late injection strategy.