From: KAUST - King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Published May 29, 2017 01:45 PM

Engines fire without smoke

By observing the soot particles formed in a simple flame, researchers at KAUST have developed a computational model capable of simulating soot production inside the latest gasoline automobile engines.

Although today’s passenger vehicle engines are cleaner than ever before, their exhaust can still contain significant numbers of nanoscopic soot particles that are small enough to penetrate the lungs and bloodstream. This new computer model should help car makers improve their engines to cut soot formation.

Gasoline engines are not traditionally associated with soot—it’s a problem usually linked with diesel vehicles. But over the last decade, to boost fuel efficiency, manufacturers have made their gasoline engines more diesel-like, adopting “direct injection” technology that sprays fuel directly into the engine cylinder. 

“Sometimes you get fuel-rich pockets where there’s not enough air for complete combustion or sometimes the fuel hits the cylinder wall and forms a pool fire,” said S. Mani Sarathy from the KAUST Clean Combustion Center, who co-led the work. Both of these scenarios generate soot.

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