In this paper, pilot-ignited high pressure dual-fuel combustion of a natural gas jet is investigated on a fundamental basis by applying two separate single-hole injectors to a rapid compression expansion machine (RCEM). A Shadowgraphy system is used for optical observations, and the combustion progress is assessed in terms of heat release rates (HRRs). The experiments focus on the combined influence of injection timing and geometrical jet arrangement on the jet interaction and the impact on the combustion process. In a first step, the operational range for successful pilot self-ignition and transition to natural gas jet combustion is determined, and the restricting phenomena are identified by analyzing the shadowgraph images. Within this range, the combustion process is assessed by evaluation of ignition delays and HRRs. Strong interaction is found to delay or even prohibit pilot ignition, while it facilitates a fast and stable onset of the gas jet combustion. Furthermore, it is shown that the HRR is governed by the time of ignition with respect to the start of natural gas injection—as this parameter defines the level of premixing. Evaluation of the time of gas jet ignition within the operability map can therefore directly link a certain spatial and temporal interaction to the resulting heat release characteristics. It is finally shown that controlling the HRR through injection timing variation is limited for a certain angle between the two jets.

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