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Investigation of In-Cylinder Pressure Measurement Methods within a Two-Stroke Spark Ignition Engine
ISSN: 1946-3855, e-ISSN: 1946-3901
Published May 12, 2023 by SAE International in United States
Citation: Ausserer, J., Polanka, M., Litke, P., and Grinstead, K., "Investigation of In-Cylinder Pressure Measurement Methods within a Two-Stroke Spark Ignition Engine," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 17(1):2024, https://doi.org/10.4271/01-17-01-0004.
This work describes an investigation of measurement techniques for the indicated mean effective pressure (IMEP) on a 55 cc single-cylinder, 4.4 kW, two-stroke, spark ignition (SI) engine intended for use on Group 1 and Group 2 remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs). Three different sensors were used: two piezoelectric pressure transducers (one flush mount and one measuring spark plug) for measuring in-cylinder pressure and one capacitive sensor for determining the top dead center (TDC) position of the piston. The effort consisted of three objectives: to investigate the merits of a flush mount pressure transducer compared to a pressure transducer integrated into the spark plug, to perform a parametric analysis to characterize the effect of the variability in the engine test bench controls on the IMEP, and to determine the thermodynamic loss angle for the engine. The results indicate that as a spark plug, the measuring spark plug is not statistically different from the stock spark plug at the 95% confidence level. The results indicate a statistically significant, 4% difference in the measured IMEP between the pressure transducer in the measuring spark plug and the flush mount transducer. The results also suggest a statistically significant difference in performance between the modified and unmodified engine heads, verifying the suppositions of other researchers who suggested that even a small modification to a combustion chamber this size could measurably affect the engine performance. While run-to-run variation resulted in a 2% to 5% variation in IMEP, a sensitivity analysis determined that 1% to 3% of that variation arose from variability in the control variables, while the remainder was caused by variation in other engine operating parameters. Between 1000 rpm and 2000 rpm, where the engine was typically motored to determine the TDC, the thermodynamic loss angle was 0.3 crank angle degrees (CAD) to 0.7 CAD, larger than loss angles observed in automotive-sized gasoline engines. The results indicate that using tabulated thermodynamic loss angles to set the TDC location of the engine using a mono-directional peak pressure method would lead to a −1% to −2.5% bias in the IMEP.