Thin-Wire Thermocouple Design for Exhaust Gas Temperature Pulse Measurements in Internal Combustion Engines

Authors Abstract
Accurate exhaust gas temperature (EGT) measurements are vital in the design and development process of internal combustion engines (ICEs). The unsteady ICE exhaust flow and thermal inertia of commonly used sheathed thermocouples and resistance thermometers require high bandwidth EGT pulse measurements for accurate cycle-resolved and mean EGTs. The EGT pulse measurement challenge is typically addressed using exposed thin-wire resistance thermometers or thermocouples. The sensor robustness to response tradeoff limits ICE tests to short durations over a few exhaust conditions. Larger diameter multiwire thermocouples using response compensation potentially overcomes the tradeoff. However, the literature commonly adopts weaker slack wire designs despite indications of coated weld taut wires being robust. This study experimentally evaluates the thin-wire thermocouple design placed in the exhaust of a heavy-duty diesel engine over wide-ranging exhaust conditions for improving both sensor robustness and accuracy of the measured EGT. The assessed design parameters included the wire diameter (51 μm to 254 μm), the exposed wire length, and the wires placed slack or taut with coated weld faces. All taut wires with ceramic-coated weld faces endured over 3 h of engine operation, while similar diameter slack wires (51 μm and 76 μm) were sensitive to the exhaust condition and exposed wire length. Reducing the wire diameter from 76 μm to 51 μm significantly impacted response improvements as evidenced at certain test conditions by a peak-peak EGT increase of 92 °C, a mean EGT drop of 26 °C, and a doubling of the sensitivity of mean EGT cycle-to-cycle variations to ±12 °C. Increasing the exposed wire length showed less significant response improvements. The Type-K thin-wire thermocouples showed negligible drift, thereby indicating the possibility of using smaller and longer wires built taut with coated weld faces for improved accuracy of EGT measurements in ICEs.
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Venkataraman, V., Stenlåås, O., and Cronhjort, A., "Thin-Wire Thermocouple Design for Exhaust Gas Temperature Pulse Measurements in Internal Combustion Engines," SAE Int. J. Engines 16(7):987-1005, 2023,
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May 17, 2023
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Journal Article