Novel design for transparent high-pressure fuel injector nozzles
Journal article, 2016
The efficiency and emissions of internal combustion (IC) engines are closely tied to the formation of the combustible air-fuel mixture. Direct-injection engines have become more common due to their increased practical flexibility and efficiency, and sprays dominate mixture formation in these engines. Spray formation, or rather the transition from a cylindrical liquid jet to a field of isolated droplets, is not completely understood. However, it is known that nozzle orifice flow and cavitation have an important effect on the formation of fuel injector sprays, even if the exact details of this effect remain unknown. A number of studies in recent years have used injectors with optically transparent nozzles (OTN) to allow observation of the nozzle orifice flow. Our goal in this work is to design various OTN concepts that mimic the flow inside commercial injector nozzles, at realistic fuel pressures, and yet still allow access to the very near nozzle region of the spray so that interior flow structure can be correlated with primary breakup dynamics. This goal has not been achieved until now because interior structures can be very complex, and the most appropriate optical materials are brittle and easily fractured by realistic fuel pressures. An OTN design that achieves realistic injection pressures and grants visual access to the interior flow and spray formation will be explained in detail. The design uses an acrylic nozzle, which is ideal for imaging the interior flow. This nozzle is supported from the outside with sapphire clamps, which reduces tensile stresses in the nozzle and increases the nozzle's injection pressure capacity. An ensemble of nozzles were mechanically tested to prove this design concept.