Influence of variable valve timings on the gas exchange process in a controlled auto-ignition engine

The controlled auto-ignition (CAI) engine concept has the potential to be highly effcient and to produce low NOx and particulate matter emissions. However, the problem of controlling the combustion over the entire load/speed range limits its practical application. The CAI combustion is controlled by the chemical kinetics of the charge mixture, with no influence of the flame diffusion or turbulent propagation. Therefore, to achieve successful control of the CAI process, the composition, temperature and pressure of the charge mixture at the inlet valve closure (IC ) point have to be controlled. The use of the variable valve timing strategy, which enables quick changes in the amount of trapped hot exchaust gases, shows the potential for control of CAI combustion. The aim of this paper is to analyse the influence of the variable valve timing strategy on the gas exchange process, the process between the first valve open event (EO) and the last valve closing event (IC ), in a CAI engine fuelled with standard gasoline fuel (95RON). The gas exchange process affects the engine parameters and charge properties and therefore plays a crucial role in determining the control of the CAI process. Analysis is performed by experimental and modelling approaches. A single-cylinder research engine equipped with a fully variable valvetrain (FVVT) system was used for the experimental study. A combined code consisting of a detailed chemical kinetics code and one-dimensional fluid dynamics code was used for the modelling study. The results obtained indicate that the variable valve timing strategy has a strong influence on the gas exchange process, which in turn influences the engine parameters and the cylinder charge properties, and hence the control of the CAI process. The EC timing has the strongest effect, followed by the IO timing, while the EO and IC timings have minor effects.