Efforts to improve the range and endurance of group 2 (10–25 kg), internal combustion engine (ICE) powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been underway for several years at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). To obtain the desired performance improvements, research into improving the overall efficiency of the ICE powerplants is of great interest. The high specific energy of hydrocarbon fuels (13,000 W h/kg for gasoline), but low fuel conversion efficiency for small ICEs means that relatively minor improvements in the fuel conversion efficiency of the engines can yield large improvements in range and endurance. Little information is available however for the efficiency of ICEs in the size range of interest (10–200 cm3 displacement volume) for group 2 UAVs. Most of the currently available efficiency data for 10–200 cm3 ICEs is for two-stroke engines. The goal of this study was to provide an in-depth probe of the efficiency and energy losses of a small displacement four-stroke engine which could potentially be used to power a group 2 UAV. Energy balances were performed on a Honda GX120 four-stroke engine using empirical research methods. The engine was a 118 cm3 displacement, single cylinder ICE. Energy pathways were characterized as a percentage of the total chemical energy available in the fuel. Energy pathways were characterized into four categories: brake power, cooling load, exhaust sensible enthalpy and incomplete combustion. The effect of five operating parameters was examined in the study. Fuel conversion efficiency ranged from 22.2% to 25.8% as engine speed was swept from 2000 to 3600 RPM, from 20.8% to 27.3% as equivalence ratio was swept from 0.85 to 1.25, and from 15.7% to 24.9% as throttle was swept from 28.5% to 100%. Combustion phasing and cylinder head temperature sweeps showed only minor changes in fuel conversion efficiency.
Energy Balance and Power Loss Pathway Study of a 120 cc Four-Stroke Internal Combustion Engine
Contributed by the IC Engine Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received September 27, 2017; final manuscript received December 1, 2017; published online April 24, 2018. Editor: David Wisler. This material is declared a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
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Blantin, J. R., Polanka, M. D., Ausserer, J. K., Litke, P. J., and Baranski, J. A. (April 24, 2018). "Energy Balance and Power Loss Pathway Study of a 120 cc Four-Stroke Internal Combustion Engine." ASME. J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. July 2018; 140(7): 072803. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4038881
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