Lean combustion in spark ignition engines is as desirable as it is challenging. The central problem is cycle-to-cycle variation, a scenario in which the power output of the engine significantly fluctuates: leaner the mixture, greater the amplitude of this fluctuation. The ultimate origin of this problem lies in a flame's refusal to ignite and propagate in said lean environment. Various ignition strategies have been devised to address this. Low temperature plasma (LTP) discharges are one such strategy wherein the criteria for successful ignition are realized by short lived ionization waves or streamers. In order to design reliable LTP discharge technologies, their fundamental structure must first be understood. Questions such as how is such a discharge produced, how can it be sustained, how to avoid its transition to a HTP (or spark), what is its energy cost, etc. have only recently furnished some answers, thanks in large part to numerical simulations. The subjects we wish to cover in this talk are the foundations, results, and ramifications of such simulations.
Vyaas Gururajan is a postdoctoral appointee in the Energy Systems Division at Argonne National Laboratory. He secured his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California under the guidance of Fokion Egolfopoulos. His main focus is on numerical simulations of reacting flows, with particular attention to non-equilibrium plasmas and development of ignition models for engine applications. He has taught courses on thermodynamics and propulsion, develops free software for education and research, and is unreachable during premier league games.
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