A combined experimental and analytical study was carried out to understand the improvement in combustion performance of a four-valve spark ignition direct injection (SIDI) wall-guided engine operating at lean, stratified idle with enhanced in-cylinder charge motion by deactivating one of the two intake valves. A fully warmed-up engine was operated at low speed, light load by injecting the fuel from a pressure-swirl injector during the compression stroke to produce a stratified fuel cloud surrounding the spark plug at the time of ignition. Steady state flow-bench measurements and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) calculations showed that valve deactivation primarily increased the in-cylinder swirl intensity as compared with opening both intake valves. Engine dynamometer measurements showed an increase in charge motion led to improved combustion stability, increased combustion efficiency, lower fuel consumption, and higher dilution tolerance. A CFD study was conducted using in-house models of spray and combustion to simulate the engine operating with and without valve deactivation. The computations demonstrated that the improved combustion was primarily driven by higher laminar flame speeds through enhanced mixing of internal residual gases, better containment of the fuel cloud within the piston bowl, and higher postflame diffusion burn rates during the initial, main, and late stages of the combustion process, respectively.

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