On the Evolution of the Flow Field in a Spark Ignition Engine

The development of the turbulent flow field inside a spark ignition engine is examined by large-eddy simulation (LES), from the intake flow to the tumble break-down. Ten consecutive cold flow engine cycles on a coarse and twenty cycles on a fine grid are simulated and compared to experiments of the same engine. The turbulent subgrid scales are modeled by the standard Smagorinsky and by the recently developed Sigma model. A comparison of the intake flow is made against Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements along horizontal and vertical lines and to an LES simulation performed by the Darmstadt group. Furthermore, we show the first LES comparison to Magnetic Resonance Velocimetry (MRV conducted by Freudenhammer et al.) measurements, which provided the 3D flow field inside a full scale dummy of the entire upper cylinder head including the valve seat region, at a time which mimics inflow conditions of the corresponding engine. Our LES is in good qualitative and quantitative agreement with the simulation and the experiments, with the notable exception of the measured in-cylinder pressure, which is discussed in detail and compared to 0D simulations and simulations from other groups. A criterion is proposed for estimating the number of cycles needed in a simulation, if experimental data is available. We put emphasis on the flow in the valve seat region, where turbulence is generated, and discuss the formation of the large scale tumble motion, including a comparison of the radial velocity fields on rolled-up planes around the valve seat. Here, spots of high velocities were found in the under flow region, which cannot been seen by the ensemble averaged MRV measurement. Within the compression stroke, a 2D vortex center identification algorithm is applied on slices inside the combustion chamber, yielding a 3D visualization of the tumble vortex, which is found to have a “croissant-like” shape. The tumble vortex trajectory is plotted on the symmetry plane and compared to measurements. Finally, we consider a modified definition of the (turbulent) integral length scale that provided further insight to the tumble break-down process.


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