A two-zone combustion system that Bassem Ramadan and his team are developing may help auto engineers meet fuel effeciency demands.
Present Position: Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Kettering Univ.
Degrees: B.E. in mechanical engineering, American University of Beirut, Lebanon; M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, Michigan State University
How you describe your work when at cocktail parties: I am trying to come up with new engine technologies to improve efficiency, reduce emissions, and hopefully reduce U.S. dependency on imported oil.
Describe your research on a two-zone combustion system: In a typical engine, a throttle is used to control airflow. When the throttle isn't fully opened, there are pumping losses due to wasted energy associated with airflow around the throttle. In a four-cylinder engine, for example, four pistons move up and down in the cylinders, executing four strokes: intake, compression, expansion, and exhaust. If the power needed to move the piston during its intake stroke is reduced, then more power is left to propel the vehicle. Our two-zone combustion system relies on this increased net power produced by the engine for efficiency.
Any drawbacks? The challenge is to prevent the two zones from mixing before combustion occurs; we're finding that when air and exhaust are in a swirling motion, mixing is delayed. But it would require a more complicated intake system design, and manufacturing costs would add up.
What are the savings in efficiency? It will vary. But even a modest increase in efficiency of two to three percent in an engine could result in huge savings of fuel consumption. And using EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) in engines can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions; so just by using 20 percent EGR in an engine, fuel mass consumption can go down by about 37 percent.
To view CFD images that show how the system works, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/3848-533.
To read more about Ramadan's research, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/3848-534.
Contact Ramadan firstname.lastname@example.org.