Thermal stratification of the unburned charge in the cylinder has a profound effect on the burn characteristics of a Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engine. Experimental data was collected in a single cylinder, gasoline-fueled, HCCI engine in order to determine the effects of combustion chamber geometry and wall conditions on thermal stratification and HCCI combustion. The study includes a wall temperature sweep and variations of piston top surface material, piston top geometry, and compression ratio. The data is processed with a traditional heat release routine, as well as a post-processing tool termed the Thermal Stratification Analysis, which calculates an unburned temperature distribution from heat release. For all of the sweeps, the 50% burned point was kept constant by varying the intake temperature. Keeping the combustion phasing constant ensures the separation of the effects of combustion phasing from the effects of wall conditions alone on HCCI and thermal stratification.

The results for the wall temperature sweep show no changes to the burn characteristics once the combustion phasing has been matched with intake temperature. This result suggests that the effects of wall temperature on HCCI are mostly during the gas-exchange portion of the cycle. The ceramic coatings were able to very slightly decrease the thermal width, increase the burn rate, increase the combustion efficiency, and decrease the cumulative heat loss. The combustion efficiency increased with the lower surface area to volume ratio piston and the lower compression ratio. Lastly, the compression ratio comparison showed a noticeable effect on the temperature distribution due to the effect of pressure on ignition delay, and the variation of TDC temperature required to match combustion phasing.

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