A renewed interest in CNG fuelled engines, which has recently been boosted by the even more stringent emissions regulations, has generated considerable R&D activity in the last few years. In order to fulfill such limits, most current CNG vehicles combine advanced technical and control solutions such as VVA intake systems, new turbocharging solutions, enhanced ECU strategies, etc. The present work focuses on the complete fluid-dynamic characterization of a gaseous injection system so as to support the design of the related control module and devices. To that end, a numerical investigation into the fluid-dynamic behavior of a commercial CNG injection system has been extensively carried out by means of the GT-POWER code.

A detailed geometrical model including the rail, the injectors as well as the pipe connecting the pressure regulator to the rail has been built in the GT-POWER environment. The model has been validated by comparing the experimental to the numerical outputs for the rail pressure and for the injected mass quantity. The model has hence been applied to the prediction of the pressure waves produced by the injection event and of their effect on the actually injected fuel mass. Moreover, the influence of the pressure regulator dynamics has been assessed by simulating the impact on the system behavior of a pressure noise downstream from the regulator. Finally, the possibility of reducing the rail volume, thus enhancing its dynamic response, has been investigated.

The results have shown a good agreement between the predicted and the measured rail pressure and injected fuel mass flow rates over a wide range of engine operation conditions. Moreover, the dynamic simulations sketched a dependence of the injected fuel mass on the average rail pressure level, which in turn appeared to reduce for increasing engine power outputs. Finally, the reduction in the rail volume has proved not to significantly affect the injected mass flow rate.

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