LES/TPDF investigation of the effects of ambient methanol concentration on pilot fuel ignition characteristics and reaction front structures

Shijie Xu, Kar Mun Pang, Yaopeng Li, Ahmad Hadadpour, Senbin Yu, Shenghui Zhong, Mehdi Jangi, Xue song Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Large-eddy simulations with a transported probability density function model coupled with a finite-rate chemistry is applied to study the ignition process of an n-heptane spray in a constant volume chamber with a premixed methanol-air atmosphere under conditions relevant to reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) engines. Three reacting spray cases with initial methanol-air equivalence ratio (ϕm) ranging from 0 to 0.3 are investigated at an initial temperature of 900 K. The case setup is based on the Engine Combustion Network Spray-H configuration, where n-heptane fuel is used. The effects of the ambient methanol-air equivalence ratio on the ignition characteristics and the reaction front structures in n-heptane/methanol RCCI combustion are studied in detail. It is found that the ambient methanol affects the low temperature chemistry of n-heptane, which results in a change of spatial distribution of key species such as heptyl-peroxide, and therefore the cool flame structure. With the presence of methanol in the ambient mixture cool flame is found in the entire fuel-rich region of the n-heptane jet, while when methanol is absent in the ambient mixture, the cool flame is established only around the stoichiometric mixture close to the n-heptane injector nozzle. In general, both low- and high-temperature ignition stages of n-heptane ignition are retarded by the methanol chemistry. An increase in ϕm leads to a decrease of the peak heat release rate of the n-heptane first-stage ignition. The chemistry of methanol inhibits the n-heptane ignition by decreasing the overall hydroxyl radicals (OH) formation rate and reducing the OH concentration during the transition period from the first-stage ignition to the second-stage ignition. As a result, the transition time between the two ignition stages is prolonged. Under the present lean methanol/air ambient mixture conditions, the impact of methanol on n-heptane ignition has a tendency of reducing the high-temperature, fuel-rich region, which is in favor of soot reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119502
Early online date2020 Oct 31
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Energy Engineering

Free keywords

  • Auto-ignition
  • Dual-fuel combustion
  • Engine Combustion Network
  • Eulerian stochastic field
  • Large eddy simulation


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