Study of engine knocking combustion using simultaneous high-speed shadowgraph and natural flame luminosity imaging

Qinglong Tang, Hao Shi, Kalim Uddeen, Priybrat Sharma, Mingfa Yao, James W. G. Turner, Gaetano Magnotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Engine knocking is a classical but significantly impactful combustion phenomenon that arouses unfailing research interests. An in-depth understanding of the knocking mechanism holds the key to the next-generation high-efficiency spark ignition engines adopting a high compression ratio. In this study, a novel 72 kHz imaging system of simultaneous shadowgraph and natural flame luminosity (NFL) was implemented on an optical engine. The key combustion parameters that affect the engine knock intensity were investigated based on the heat release analysis. The shadowgraph image velocimetry (SIV) was utilized to measure the in-cylinder flow field. The end gas autoignition process in the engine knocking combustion was studied under knock intensity as high as 18.1 bar. The results indicate that there is an “optimum” combustion phasing that produces the highest knock intensity. The cases with more end gas mass at knock onset, though having lower mean temperatures, generally produce higher knock intensity. The knock intensity can be significantly different under the same end gas mass and mean end gas temperature, possibly due to the different temperature gradients in the end gas. The simultaneous shadowgraph and NFL imaging succussed in differentiating the density variation zone in the end gas caused by the low-temperature heat release from the hot flame zone before auto-ignition. An intense density variation zone is witnessed around the center of the cylinder under higher engine knock intensity by the shadowgraph images, showing a dark region that oscillates together with the local pressure oscillations. The coupling among the local density variation, pressure oscillation, and NFL intensity oscillation is observed during the engine knocking combustion. The velocity distribution of the flow field indicates that the engine knocking combustion enhances the in-cylinder flow, which may cause more convective heat transfer loss and flow loss.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121440
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - Aug 25 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-08-31
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) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) through its projects of 52206166.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Study of engine knocking combustion using simultaneous high-speed shadowgraph and natural flame luminosity imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this