Natural gas is traditionally considered as a promising fuel in comparison with gasoline due to the potential of lower emissions and significant domestic reserves. These emissions can be further diminished by using noble gases, such as argon, instead of nitrogen as the working fluid in internal combustion engines. Furthermore, the use of argon as the working fluid can increase the thermodynamic efficiency due to its higher specific heat ratio. In comparison with premixed operation, the direct injection of natural gas enables the engine to reach higher compression ratios while avoiding knock. Using argon as the working fluid increases the in-cylinder temperature at top dead center (TDC) and enables the compression ignition (CI) of natural gas. In this numerical study, the combustion quality and ignition behavior of methane injected into a mixture of oxygen and argon have been investigated using a three-dimensional transient model of a constant volume combustion chamber (CVCC). A dynamic structure large eddy simulation (LES) model has been utilized to capture the behavior of the nonpremixed turbulent gaseous jet. A reduced mechanism consists of 22-species, and 104-reactions were coupled with the CFD solver. The simulation results show that the methane jet ignites at engine-relevant conditions when nitrogen is replaced by argon as the working fluid. Ignition delay times are compared across a variety of operating conditions to show how mixing affects jet development and flame characteristics.

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