Engine induced swirl improves mixing of fuel and air and at optimal values accelerates burn, improves the combustion stability and can decrease particulate matter (PM). However, swirl increases convective heat loss and cylinder charge loss and could increase nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. High intensity of swirl could impede flame development and increases emissions of total hydrocarbons (THC) and carbon monoxide (CO). Therefore, careful and smart selection of optimal swirl values is paramount in order to obtain beneficial impact on combustion and emissions performance.
This study is conducted on a 0.5L single cylinder research engine with common rail (CR) diesel injection system, with parameters corresponding to modern engines of passenger cars. The engine has three separate ports in the cylinder head. The change of swirl ratio is defined by closing appropriate ports. There are three levels of swirl ratio under study — 1.7, 2.9 and 4.5, corresponding to low, medium and high swirl levels respectively.
This study highlights the influence of intake induced swirl on combustion parameters and emissions. Assessed combustion parameters are, among others, heat release rate, cylinder pressure rise and indicated mean effective pressure. Assessed emissions are standard gaseous emissions and smoke, with emphasis on PM emissions. An engine speed of 1500 rpm was selected, which well represents common driving conditions of this engine size. Various common rail pressures are used at ambient inlet manifold pressure (without boost pressure) and at 1 bar boosted pressure mode. It is found that when the swirl level is increased, the faster heat release during the premixed combustion and during early diffusion-controlled combustion causes a quick increase in both in-cylinder pressure and temperature, thus promoting the formation of NOx. However, since swirl enhances mixing and potentially produces a leaning effect, PM formation is reduced in general. However, maximum peak temperature is lower for high swirl ratio and boosted modes due to the increase of heat transfer into cylinder walls. Furthermore, it is necessary to find optimal values of common rail pressures and swirl ratio. Too much mixing allows increase on PM, THC and CO emissions without decrease on NOx emissions in general. Common rail injection system provides enough energy to achieve good mixing during all the injection time in the cases of supercharged modes and high common rail pressure modes. Positive influence of swirl ratio is found at lower boost pressures, lower revolution levels and at lower engine loads. The results obtained here help providing a better understanding on the swirl effects on diesel engine combustion and exhaust emissions over a range of engine operating conditions, with the ultimate goal of finding optimal values of swirl operation.