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The Neutronic Engine: A Platform for Operando Neutron Diffraction in Internal Combustion Engines
- Martin Wissink - Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Energy Science and Technology Directorate, USA ,
- Christopher L. Wray - Southwest Research Institute, USA ,
- P.M. Lee - Southwest Research Institute, USA ,
- Matthew M. Hoffmeyer - Southwest Research Institute, USA ,
- Matthew J. Frost - Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Neutron Sciences Directorate, USA ,
- Ke An - Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Neutron Sciences Directorate, USA ,
- Yan Chen - Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Neutron Sciences Directorate, USA
ISSN: 1946-3936, e-ISSN: 1946-3944
Published November 09, 2023 by SAE International in United States
Citation: Wissink, M., Wray, C., Lee, P., Hoffmeyer, M. et al., "The Neutronic Engine: A Platform for Operando Neutron Diffraction in Internal Combustion Engines," SAE Int. J. Engines 17(2):269-305, 2024, https://doi.org/10.4271/03-17-02-0016.
Neutron diffraction is a powerful tool for noninvasive and nondestructive characterization of materials and can be applied even in large devices such as internal combustion engines thanks to neutrons’ exceptional ability to penetrate many materials. While proof-of-concept experiments have shown the ability to measure spatially and temporally resolved lattice strains in a small aluminum engine on a timescale of minutes over a limited spatial region, extending this capability to timescales on the order of a crank angle degree over the full volume of the combustion chamber requires careful design and optimization of the engine structure to minimize attenuation of the incident and diffracted neutrons to maximize count rates. We present the design of a “neutronic engine,” which is analogous to an optical engine in that the materials and external geometry of a typical automotive engine have been optimized to maximize access of the diagnostic while maintaining the internal combustion chamber geometry and operability of the engine. The high transparency of aluminum to neutrons makes it the ideal window material for neutron diagnostics, which allows the neutronic engine to be a truly all-metal engine with the same load and boundary condition capabilities of a modern downsized passenger car engine. The neutronic engine will enable 3D and time-resolved measurements of strain, stress, and temperature fields as well as phase transformation, texture, and microstructure throughout the metal components of the combustion chamber.