Spark Assisted Compression Ignition (SACI) combustion is capable of partially decoupling combustion phasing from peak heat release rate, overcoming one of the major challenges associated with low temperature combustion. Experimental SACI studies have shown that for a given combustion phasing, peak heat release rate can be modulated by trading the fraction of the fresh charge consumed by flame propagation with the fraction consumed by auto-ignition. The chemical and physical mechanisms controlling the changes in heat release rate are not well known. The current work uses computational simulation to explore these modes through the combined control of spark timing and charge temperature via changes in negative valve overlap. Open cycle CFD simulation results are compared with experimental data to validate a newly developed SACI model, and used to gain insight into the processes governing combustion behavior. The simulations predict a 43% reduction in the peak rate of heat release with increasing spark advance, while the unburned charge mass at the time of auto-ignition decreases by only 23%. Detailed analysis of the end-gas thermodynamic state prior to auto-ignition shows as spark is advanced, the end-gas thermal and compositional distributions vary with the fraction of the charge consumed by the flame. The reduction in the rate of peak rate of heat release during the auto-ignition process is therefore a function of both the mass of the end-gas and the end-gas reactivity.
Middleton, R. J., Olesky, L. K. M., Lavoie, G. A., Wooldridge, M. S., Assanis, D. N., & Martz, J. B. (2015). The effect of spark timing and negative valve overlap on Spark Assisted Compression Ignition combustion heat release rate. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 35(3), 3117–3124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proci.2014.08.021