Cyclic variations in internal combustion engines are caused by various factors, including combustion mixture stratification, in-cylinder flows, local fluctuations in air-fuel ratio, etc. Cyclic variations have a profound impact on engine performance and emissions. In this study, cyclic variations in dual fuel combustion are analyzed, comparing diesel – natural gas (NG) and polyoxymethylene dimethyl ether (POMDME) – NG dual fuel combustion. Cyclic variability was initially quantified using the coefficient of variation (COV) of IMEPg computed from experimental cylinder pressure data. The cases analyzed in this study had a COV of IMEPg greater than or around 5%, which was the lower limit of onset of instability for this engine. Experiments were performed at two fixed start of injection (SOI) of high-cetane fuel: 310 CAD and 350 CAD. For all experiments, a constant load of 5 bar IMEPg was maintained and the intake boost pressure and rail pressure, were fixed at 1.5 bar and 500 bar respectively. For each case, 1000 cycles of cylinder pressure data were recorded, filtered, and processed using an in-house heat release analysis code for each cycle. A comparison between individual cycles and the “ensemble averaged cycle” was made for both diesel-NG and POMDME-NG combustion. For the early SOI of 310 CAD, the peak cylinder pressure fluctuations of individual cycle were found to be ± 15 bar for both fuel combinations, compared to the ensemble averaged cycle, and < 1/10th of the cycles had an IMEPg lower than 0.05 bar of the ensemble averaged cycle. However, the peak pressure fluctuations were found to be lower for POMDME-NG (± 3 bar) than diesel-NG dual fuel combustion at 350 CAD SOI, indicating lower cyclic variations. The higher reactivity of POMDME helped reduce fluctuations in combustion phasing in the retarded SOI. The presence of cycles of deterioration and cycles of recovery were also observed with diesel-NG combustion for 310 CAD SOI, and the scatter in the IMEPg return map was similar for both fuel combinations. The IMEPg return map for POMDME-NG combustion was less scattered at the 350 CAD SOI.

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