This paper investigates the impact of fuel property variations on the common rail pressure fluctuation in high-pressure common rail (HPCR) system and explores the possibility of identifying the fuel types based on the measurement of rail pressure for internal combustion engines. Fluid transients, particularly the water hammer effect in a HPCR system, are discussed and the 1D governing equations are given. A typical HPCR system model is developed in GT-Suite with the injectors, three-plunger high-pressure pump, and pressure control valve being modeled in a relatively high level of detail. Four different fuels including gasoline, ethanol, diesel, and biodiesel are modeled and their properties including density, bulk modulus, and acoustic wave speed are validated against data in the literature. Simulation results are obtained under different conditions with variable rail pressures and engine speeds. To reduce the excessive rail pressure oscillation caused by multiple injections, only four main-injections are enabled in each engine revolution. The results show that the natural frequency of a common rail varies with the type of fuel filled in it. By applying the fast Fourier transform (FFT) to the pressure signal, the differences of fuel properties can be revealed in the frequency domain. The experiment validation is conducted on a medium-duty diesel engine, which is equipped with a typical HPCR system and piezo-electric injectors. Tests results are given for both pure No. 2 diesel and pure soybean biodiesel at different rail pressure levels and different engine speeds. This approach is proved to be potentially useful for fuel property identification of gasoline-ethanol or diesel-biodiesel blends on internal combustion engines.

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