Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Model allows engineers to test fuel systems on computers

Date:
March 18, 2013
Source:
University of Alabama Huntsville
Summary:
Engineers will be able to design better fuel systems for everything from motorcycles to rockets faster and more inexpensively because of a new mathematical fuels model.

Doctoral candidate Omid Samimi, left, and Dr. C. P. Chen discuss their computer simulation of evaporating fuel sprays.
Credit: Aaron Sexton / University of Alabama in Huntsville

Engineers will be able to design better fuel systems for everything from motorcycles to rockets faster and more inexpensively because of a mathematical fuels model developed at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Related Articles


The fuels model will increase the pace of injector design for greater efficiency, better gas mileage and more horsepower in cars and trucks. But the beauty of this approach is that it works for all combustion processes and fuels, from mopeds to missiles and from gasoline, ethanol and diesel fuel to decane/hexadecane.

Instead of costly real-world modeling, which requires the design, machining and production of parts before they can be bench tested and performance modeled, the mathematical model lets designers test their ideas on computers first. The model also brings research into alternative fuels into the computer before it needs to be prototyped.

"That's the reason we are so excited about this research, is that it cuts down on the expense of the calculations to model fuel efficiency," said Dr. Chien-Pin Chen, chair of UAHuntsville's chemical engineering department, who along with graduate student Omid Samimi Abianeh wrote a research paper on the fuels model ("A discrete multicomponent fuel evaporation model with liquid turbulence effects," International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 55, Issues 23-24, November 2012, Pages 6897-6907). Chemical engineering professor, Dr. Ramon Cerro (see also: "Batch disillation: The forward and Inverse Problems," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol. 51, 12435-12488, 2012) and Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, dean of the College of Engineering, are also involved in the research.

"If somebody wants to do a numerical diagram of an internal combustion engine -- and I'm a numbers guy¬ -- the first thing they need to study is the fuel," Dr. Chen said. But because fuel is a highly complex substance, a researcher would need a supercomputer to do that. Gasoline, for example, contains hundreds of substances with different evaporation rates and ignition points.

"So we designed a surrogate fuel with three components instead of hundreds," Dr. Chen said. "It performs the same but it is not as complex to study." While it can be created as a physical substance, in the model the fuel is represented mathematically. "That model is our contribution," he said, and it works across all fuels, from rocket fuel to common ethanol/gasoline mixtures and the new E85 ethanol fuels. Their research has been funded by NASA and Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative grants.

In modern engines, injectors spray fuel into the combustion chamber at precisely timed intervals for combustion. The size, composition, behavior, temperature and pressure of those droplets all determine how efficiently the fuel will perform, Dr. Chen said. The model can demonstrate how fuel droplets from different injector designs will behave as far as their evaporation characteristics and combustion efficiency in the combustion chamber. All fuel types are certified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and that was the database used to validate the research results, Dr. Chen said.

"We are already changing the injector designs," Dr. Chen said, adding that the fuels model allows engineers to better answer the question, "What is the best injector design to give you the best flame propagation?

The new model has led to additional research in fuel turbulence, the rich to lean swirl of fuel in a combustion chamber that provides for even flame propagation.

In car and truck engines, it is important that fuel burns and expands in a controlled fashion rather than exploding. Explosions cause detonation, that pinging or clunking sound drivers sometimes hear that leads to premature engine wear and failure.

To accomplish even propagation, modern gasoline engines are designed to layer the fuel so that it has a higher density in relation to the available air (a rich mixture) near the spark plug and swirls to a lower density (a lean mixture) near the top of the piston. The plug's spark can more easily start combustion in the rich fuel, and the leaner mix underneath is more efficiently burned. Injector nozzle design and placement in the chamber are both important to this process. This summer at a Korean conference, Dr. Chen will present a paper and discuss the research done at UAHuntsville on how the turbulent swirling process affects the fuel droplet evaporation process.

The UAHuntsville researchers are also working to develop a combustion flame propagation model that could bring that process, too, inside the computer first before real-world testing is undertaken and result in gains in efficiency. "We are studying the flame front and how they wrinkle as the fuel burns," said Dr. Chen, who plans to submit a proposal to the U.S. Dept. of Energy to further that study. The research could increase the efficiency of future combustion chamber designs.

"The long-term goal," Dr. Chen said, "is to find a way to burn fuel more efficiently for more power and cleaner combustion."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama Huntsville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. O. Samimi Abianeh, C.P. Chen. A discrete multicomponent fuel evaporation model with liquid turbulence effects. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 2012; 55 (23-24): 6897 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2012.07.003

Cite This Page:

University of Alabama Huntsville. "Model allows engineers to test fuel systems on computers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318104735.htm>.
University of Alabama Huntsville. (2013, March 18). Model allows engineers to test fuel systems on computers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318104735.htm
University of Alabama Huntsville. "Model allows engineers to test fuel systems on computers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318104735.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins