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      Extending Lean Operating Limit and Reducing Emissions of Methane Spark-Ignited Engines Using a Microwave-Assisted Spark Plug

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          Abstract

          A microwave-assisted spark plug was used to extend the lean operating limit (lean limit) and reduce emissions of an engine burning methane-air. In-cylinder pressure data were collected at normalized air-fuel ratios of λ = 1.46 , λ = 1.51 , λ = 1.57 , λ = 1.68 , and λ = 1.75 . For each λ , microwave energy (power supplied to the magnetron per engine cycle) was varied from 0 mJ (spark discharge alone) to 1600 mJ. At lean conditions, the results showed adding microwave energy to a standard spark plug discharge increased the number of complete combustion cycles, improving engine stability as compared to spark-only operation. Addition of microwave energy also increased the indicated thermal efficiency by 4% at λ = 1.68 . At λ = 1.75 , the spark discharge alone was unable to consistently ignite the air-fuel mixture, resulting in frequent misfires. Although microwave energy produced more consistent ignition than spark discharge alone at λ = 1.75 , 59% of the cycles only partially burned. Overall, the microwave-assisted spark plug increased engine performance under lean operating conditions ( λ = 1.68 ) but did not affect operation at conditions closer to stoichiometric.

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          Most cited references 13

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Combustion
                Journal of Combustion
                Hindawi Limited
                2090-1968
                2090-1976
                2012
                2012
                : 2012
                :
                : 1-8
                Article
                10.1155/2012/927081
                © 2012

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