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Research Papers: Internal Combustion Engines

Further Development of a Smoke Sensor for Diesel Engines

[+] Author and Article Information
D. Gould, D. P. Gardiner, M. LaViolette

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, ON K7K 7B4, Canada

W. D. Allan

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, ON K7K 7B4, Canadabilly.allan@rmc.ca

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 131(2), 022801 (Dec 18, 2008) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2978995 History: Received December 01, 2006; Revised May 05, 2008; Published December 18, 2008

This paper describes experimental research aimed at developing an on-board smoke sensor for diesel engines. The sensor element was similar to a conventional spark plug. Electrical heating of the insulator was used to prevent carbon fouling from the diesel soot. The sensing element created sparks within the exhaust pipe and changes in smoke levels were detected through analysis of the voltage levels of the sparks. The system was tested in a heavy duty diesel engine equipped with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and compared with reference measurements of the filter smoke number (FSN). The experiments showed good sensitivity to step changes in smoke levels (accomplished by varying EGR levels) at smoke levels below 0.5 FSN. However, the sensor suffered from temperature induced signal drift and was unstable under some circumstances. The use of a spark plug with a smaller electrode tip diameter improved the signal stability. It is proposed that measurement and control of the electrode temperature will be necessary to control the signal drift.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Spark voltage waveform

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Figure 2

Correlation between first generation smoke sensor signal and filter smoke number (1000 rpm, 3.25 bar BMEP, variable EGR). Adapted from Allan (11)

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Figure 3

Smoke sensor system

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Figure 4

Smoke sensor signal at varying EGR levels (heated spark plug) (numerical values are FSN values for steady EGR valve positions)

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Figure 5

Correlation between heated spark plug smoke sensor signal and filter smoke number (1000 rpm, 1.9 bar BMEP, variable EGR)

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Figure 6

Correlation between change in heated spark plug sensor signal and change in filter smoke number (1000 rpm, 1.9 bar BMEP, variable EGR)

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Figure 7

Effect of electric heating on sensor signal

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Figure 8

Signal drift during EGR cycle (numerical values are FSN values for steady EGR valve positions)

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Figure 9

Short term instability behavior (numerical values are FSN values for steady EGR valve positions)

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Figure 10

Arcing pattern on heated spark plug

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Figure 11

Arcing pattern on platinum pin spark plug

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Figure 12

Smoke sensor signal at varying EGR levels (unheated platinum spark plug) (numerical values are FSN values for steady EGR valve positions)

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Figure 13

Smoke sensor response to 0.1 FSN change in smoke (numerical values are FSN values for steady EGR valve positions)

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Figure 14

Correlation between unheated platinum spark plug smoke sensor signal and filter smoke number (1000 rpm, 1.9 bar BMEP variable EGR)

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Figure 15

Correlation between change in unheated platinum spark plug sensor signal and change in filter smoke number

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