Optical diagnostics and multi-point pressure sensing on the knocking combustion with multiple spark ignition

Hao Shi, Qinglong Tang, Kalim Uddeen, Gaetano Magnotti, James W. G. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Engine knock is an abnormal combustion phenomenon that limits the thermal efficiency and service life of spark-ignition engines. A better understanding of the knock mechanisms and characteristics is beneficial to knock alleviation and engine efficiency improvement. In this study, a metal liner with four evenly-spaced spark plugs in the periphery of the combustion chamber is designed to initiate knock from different positions. Four spark strategies are applied to the single-cylinder optical research engine and six pressure sensors are utilized to analyze the local pressure oscillations in the cylinder. The knocking combustion is investigated by simultaneous 72 kHz high-speed imaging and 6-point pressure sensing. The experimental results indicate that using multiple spark-ignition could promote knock intensity, advance the start of auto-ignition and introduce more acoustic resonance modes. The center pressure sensor is more sensitive to the first radial resonant mode (0, 1) of the knock pressure oscillation, while the side sensors are more sensitive to the first and second circumferential resonant modes (1, 0) and (2, 0). The knock onset judged by natural flame photography is earlier than that by pressure analysis because the auto-ignition event happens first and induces the subsequent pressure fluctuation. Natural flame luminosity analysis demonstrates that the initial auto-ignition sites only cause weak pressure oscillations, and the instantaneous combustion of the remaining end-gas increases the heat release rate significantly and gives rise to more violent pressure oscillations. Statistically, the maximum amplitude of pressure oscillation follows an exponential relationship with the peak mean flame luminosity. The end-gas resides in the gaps among the flame fronts generated by different spark strategies while the first auto-ignition sites are not evenly distributed in the end-gas zone. This fact gives insights into the local temperature non-uniformity of the end gas zone that affects the spatial distributions of the initial auto-ignition sites in the cylinder.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111802
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - Oct 22 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-10-25
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): URF/1/3710-01-01
Acknowledgements: This work was funded by competitive research funding (URF/1/3710-01-01) from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Fuel Technology


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