J D Mullett, R Dodd, C J Williams, G Triantos, G Dearden, A T Shenton, K G Watkins, S D Carroll, A D Scarisbrick and S Keen
Abstract: This work involves a study on laser ignition (LI) in an internal combustion (IC) engine and investigates the effects on control of engine combustion performance and stability of varying specific laser parameters (beam energy, beam quality, minimum beam waist size, focal point volume and focal length). A Q-switched Nd :YAG laser operating at the fundamental wavelength 1064 nm was successfully used to ignite homogeneous stoichiometric gasoline and air mixtures in one cylinder of a 1.6 litre IC test engine, where the remaining three cylinders used conventional electrical spark ignition (SI). A direct comparison between LI and conventional SI is presented in terms of changes in coefficient of variability in indicated mean effective pressure (COVIMEP) and the variance in the peak cylinder pressure position (VarPPP). The laser was individually operated in three different modes by changing the diameter of the cavity aperture, where the results show that for specific parameters, LI performed better than SI in terms of combustion performance and stability. Minimum ignition energies for misfire free combustion ranging from 4 to 28mJ were obtained for various optical and laser configurations and were compared with the equivalent minimum optical breakdown energies in air.