This paper presents a numerical study on fuel injection, ignition, and combustion in a direct-injection natural gas (DING) engine with ignition assisted by a shielded glow plug (GP). The shield geometry is investigated by employing different sizes of elliptical shield opening and changing the position of the shield opening. The results simulated by KIVA-3V indicated that fuel ignition and combustion is very sensitive to the relative angle between the fuel injection and the shield opening, and the use of an elliptical opening for the glow plug shield can reduce ignition delay by 0.1–0.2 ms for several specific combinations of the injection angle and shield opening size, compared to a circular shield opening. In addition, the numerical results also revealed that the natural gas ignition and flame propagation will be delayed by lowering a circular shield opening from the fuel jet center plane, due to the blocking effect of the shield to the fuel mixture, and hence, it will reduce the DING engine performance by causing a longer ignition delay.

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