Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


CFD Modeling of Two-Stage Ignition in a Rapid Compression Machine: Assessment of Zero-Dimensional Approach

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-2010


In modeling rapid compression machine (RCM) experiments, zero-dimensional approach is commonly used along with an associated heat loss model. The adequacy of such approach has not been validated for hydrocarbon fuels. The existence of multi-dimensional effects inside an RCM due to the boundary layer, roll-up vortex, non-uniform heat release, and piston crevice could result in deviation from the zero-dimensional assumption, particularly for hydrocarbons exhibiting two-stage ignition and strong thermokinetic interactions. The objective of this investigation is to assess the adequacy of zero-dimensional approach in modeling RCM experiments under conditions of two-stage ignition and negative temperature coefficient (NTC) response. Computational fluid dynamics simulations are conducted for n-heptane ignition in an RCM and the validity of zero-dimensional approach is assessed through comparisons over the entire NTC region. Results show that the zero-dimensional model based on the approach of ‘adiabatic volume expansion’ performs very well in adequately predicting the first-stage ignition delays, although quantitative discrepancy for the prediction of the total ignition delays and pressure rise in the first-stage ignition is noted even when the roll-up vortex is suppressed and a well-defined homogeneous core is retained within an RCM. Furthermore, the discrepancy is pressure dependent and decreases as compressed pressure is increased. Also, as ignition response becomes single-stage at higher compressed temperatures, discrepancy from the zero-dimensional simulations reduces. Despite of some quantitative discrepancy, the zero-dimensional modeling approach is deemed satisfactory from the viewpoint of the ignition delay simulation.

Publication Title

Combustion and Flame





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