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Journal Article

Measurement of Loss Pathways in Small, Two-Stroke Internal-Combustion Engines

Abstract The rapid expansion of the market for remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) includes a particular interest in 10-25 kg vehicles for monitoring, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Power-plant options for these aircraft are often 10-100 cm3 internal combustion engines. Both power and fuel conversion efficiency decrease with increasing rapidity in the aforementioned size range. Fuel conversion efficiency decreases from ∼30% for conventional-scale engines (>100 cm3 displacement) to <5% for micro glow-fuel engines (<10 cm3 displacement), while brake mean effective pressure decreases from >10 bar (>100 cm3) to <4 bar (<10 cm3). Based on research documented in the literature, the losses responsible for the increase in the rate of decreasing performance cannot be clearly defined.
Technical Paper

Characterization of Small-Scale Turbochargers for Unmanned Aerial Systems

Abstract Aircraft engine power is degraded with increasing altitude according to the resultant reduction in air pressure, temperature, and density. One way to mitigate this problem is through turbo-normalization of the air being supplied to the engine. Supercharger and turbocharger components suffer from a well-recognized loss in efficiency as they are scaled down in order to match the reduced mass flow demands of small-scale Internal Combustion Engines. This is due in large part to problems related to machining tolerance limitations, such as the increase in relative operating clearances, and increased blade thickness relative to the flow area. As Internal Combustion Engines decrease in size, they also suffer from efficiency losses owing primarily to thermal loss. This amplifies the importance of maximizing the efficiency of all sub-systems in order to minimize specific fuel consumption and enhance overall aircraft performance.
Technical Paper

Mapping of Fuel Anti-Knock Requirements for a Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Engine

Abstract Small remotely piloted aircraft (10-25 kg) powered by internal combustion engines typically operate on motor gasoline, which has an anti-knock index (AKI) of >80. To comply with the single-battlefield-fuel initiative in DoD Directive 4140.25, interest has been increasing in converting the 1-10 kW power plants in the aforementioned size class to run on lower AKI fuels such as diesel and JP-8, which have AKIs of ∼20. It has been speculated that the higher losses (short circuiting, incomplete combustion, heat transfer) that cause these engines to have lower efficiencies than their conventional-scale counterparts may also relax the fuel-AKI requirements of the engines. To investigate that idea, the fuel-AKI requirement of a 3W-55i engine was mapped and compared to that of the engine on the manufacturer-recommended 98 (octane number) ON fuel.
Technical Paper

Control of Fuel Octane for Knock Mitigation on a Dual-Fuel Spark-Ignition Engine

A two-port fuel-injection (PFI) system is added to a Rotax 914 four-cylinder spark-ignition engine to allow two fuels of different reactivity to be injected simultaneously in order to vary the fuel octane number during engine operation. Engine performance using the dual-fuel PFI system is compared to that using injection of primary-reference-fuel (PRF) blends via a single-PFI system for fuel octane ratings of 50, 70, and 87 octane. The on-the-fly octane control of dual-PFI system is found to control fuel-octane well enough to produce maximum indicated mean effective pressure (IMEPn) results within ± 2% of single-PFI PRF IMEPn results. IMEPn is compared among dual-PFI blends from 20 to 87 octane, neat n-heptane, neat JP-8, and JP-8/isooctane blends. Maximum IMEPn for these fuels is established for the Rotax 914 engine operating from 2500 to 5800 rev/min.