Correlation of nanoparticle size distribution features to spatiotemporal flame luminosity in gasoline direct injection engines

Joonho Jeon, Noah Bock, David B. Kittelson, William F. Northrop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Particle size distribution measured by mobility instruments is a common diagnostic used to characterize ultrafine and nanoparticle emissions in engine exhaust; however, some features of particle size distribution data are poorly correlated to in-cylinder combustion phenomena. In this work, in-cylinder spatiotemporal flame luminosity is quantitatively correlated to features in the solid particle size distribution measured in the exhaust of a gasoline direct injection engine operating in lean and stoichiometric combustion modes. A multi-channel optical sensor was used to measure diffusion flame light intensity in different areas of the combustion chamber. Total solid particle number and particle size distribution in the exhaust were measured using a scanning mobility particle sizer after a catalytic stripper that removed semi-volatile compounds. Results of the experiments showed that different flame phenomenon resulted in distinct particle size distribution characteristics. A large accumulation mode (particles with diameter of 50–100 nm) in the particle size distribution from stoichiometric engine operation with early injection resulted from anomalous diffusion flames like piston-top pool fires. In lean operation incorporating a secondary fuel injection, particle emissions were dominated by flame propagation through fuel-rich regions of the combustion chamber resulting in a comparatively broad particle size distribution. More generally, this work illustrates how particle size distribution data can be more accurately used to diagnose soot formation in gasoline direct injection engines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1117
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Engine Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge Ernst Winkelhofer and Alois Hirsch at AVL, Gratz, AU, for technical support regarding the Visiolution diagnostic system. This paper was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the US Government. Neither the US Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the US Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the US Government or any agency thereof. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under award number DE-EE0007217.

Publisher Copyright:
© IMechE 2018.


  • Gasoline direct injection engines
  • flame light intensity
  • lean combustion
  • particle size distribution
  • soot formation


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