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Title: Engine and Combustion Modeling Developments in Fluent 6.

Authors: F. Bedford, X. Hu, Fluent, Inc.


Over the past year, developments in the commercial CFD software Fluent have expanded the
capability for modeling in-cylinder flows with moving and deforming meshes (MDM), spray and
spray wall interaction as well as chemical reaction. Improvements in coupling chemistry and
turbulence have been implemented using a Lagrangian particle based variation of the probability
density function (PDF) formulation of the conservation equations. An adaptive tabulation
scheme, In-Situ Adaptive Tabulation (ISAT) [1], has been successfully implemented in Fluent 6.1
that greatly decreases the cost of integrating stiff chemical kinetic systems in multidimensional
simulations. A spray wall interaction model and a crevice model have been added to Fluent 6.1,
the latter specifically targeting in-cylinder simulation. Fluent 6.1 can now couple with the one
dimensional gas dynamics codes that can be used, for example, to calculate intake or exhaust

Results from in-cylinder simulations with and without chemical reaction will be presented from
several sources [2], [3]. Comparisons with experimental data will be shown and an outline will be
given on work currently in progress that specifically targets in-cylinder computations.

Non Reacting In-Cylinder Flows

Fluent 6.1 has been used for numerous analyses of flow characteristics of port designs for SI
engines. Two examples of such engines are presented below: the first a well instrumented optical
engine from the work of Reuss from the GM Research Laboratory where detailed two
dimensional Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements were made of a motored engine
cycle and the second in which an existing two valve wedge style engine geometry was modified
for use with direct in-cylinder fuel injection (Gasoline Direct Injection, or GDI) from the work of
Suh from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

GM Research Pancake Engine Geometry

The Transparent Combustion Chamber (TCC) engine is a two valve four-stroke cycle engine with
at 92 mm bore and an 86 mm stroke. The top-dead-center (TDC) clearance is 12.3 mm which
yields a compression ratio of 8.0:1. The engine has a single centrally located overhead camshaft
with a standard symmetric profile of 248 crank angle degrees (CAD) duration and 20 CAD
overlap. The intake and exhaust valves are 30 mm in diameter and open 8.9 mm at their
maximum lift. Figure 1a shows the mesh from a simulation of the TCC engine with the long
tubular runners which enter the cylinder nearly vertically. To facilitate swirl production, a 120
degree shroud was fitted to the valve so that the flow was blocked from exiting the short side
radius of the intake port on the negative x side, as shown in Figure 1b. The PIV data is obtained
by seeding the intake air with approximately 0.5 mm diameter silicone droplets while
illuminating planes with a laser sheet. The laser is double pulsed with 6 ns duration pulses
separated by 5 to 10 ms. The measurements shown here are ensemble means of 20 to 30 velocity
field realizations. Further experimental and geometric information and can be found in Reference

The Fluent 6.1 CFD simulation used approximately 100,000 cells at TDC, and 184,000 cells at
Bottom Dead Center (BDC) where the intake valve closing (IVC) event occurs. The flow was
started from quiescent initial conditions at 100 kPa intake manifold absolute pressure (MAP) just
after the exhaust valve closing event. Thus, the exhaust port and valve were not modeled. The
discretization was second order in space and first order implicit in time and uniform time steps
equivalent to 0.5 CAD were used for most of the simulation, though the time steps were reduced
to 0.1 CAD for approximately 5 CAD around the intake valve opening and closing events. An
initial turbulence intensity of 10 % was assumed over the entire domain.

The swirl ratio (SR) was approximately 6 at IVC, much higher than typical SR values for
homogeneous charge spark ignited (SI) engines. Figure 2 shows the computed results from
Fluent 6.1 at BDC intake for three planes normal to the vertical (z) axis at a) 2.5 mm, b) 4.5 mm
and c) 6.5mm below the top of the cylinder head. The simulation from Fluent 6.1 clearly captures
the precession of the swirl center with depth and the agreement with experiment is very good.
Computed and measured tumble flow shows similar agreement on a vertical plane between the
two valves – the main flow rotates about the center and small rotating structures exist at the top
left and bottom left corners of the cylinder.

GDI Engine Geometry

The GDI engine from Suh [4] has very tight geometric clearances between the piston and
cylinder head which prove challenging for most moving and deforming mesh calculations. The
engine has a 101.6 mm bore and an 88.4 mm stroke. The single intake valve is modeled as a
standard Chevrolet small block 1.94” (49.3 mm) diameter tulip style intake. No exhaust valve or
port is included in this computation. Valve lift for this simulation is 11 mm and the cam timing is
assumed symmetric about 114 CAD lobe centerlines with 250 CAD duration. The bowl for this
engine is hemispherical, approximately 2.8 inches in diameter and 0.7 inches in depth, cut out of
the wedge shaped piston dome. The piston dome is sized so that it is approximately 1.5 mm
smaller than the combustion chamber about the entire combustion chamber perimeter at TDC.

The Fluent 6.1 simulation used quiescent mean flow and 10% turbulence intensity for initial
conditions, second order upwinding for spatial discretization and first order implicit time
differencing for temporal discretization. There were approximately 85,000 computational cells at
TDC and 162,000 computational cells at BDC. The simulation required slightly less than two
days to run from 360 degrees to 720 degrees on a single processor 2.2 GHz Intel Pentium, with
time steps of 0.5 CAD with the layering portion of the simulation and time steps of 0.2 CAD
during the portion of the simulation where automatic remeshing was occurring around the valves.
The operating system was Linux and the GCC compiler was used (with full optimization) to build
the version of Fluent.

With the automatic remeshing capability implemented in Fluent 6.1, the tight geometric
clearances between the piston and the cylinder head can be modeled with tetrahedral cells near
TDC intake (near 360 CAD). As the piston enters into the fluid region defined by the combustion
chamber, any skewed cells resulting from the interpenetration of the piston into the combustion
chamber are automatically remeshed. The remeshing continues until the top of the piston has
passed outside of the region defined by the combustion chamber (at approximately 430 CAD, or
70 degrees after TDC). After a crank angle of 430, the lower topology is no longer remeshed and
is moved as a solid body – a section between the combustion chamber and the piston is then
created automatically for a layering region. The automatic remeshing feature is transparent to the
user and can be controlled by the parameters in the GUI.

Figure 3a shows velocity vectors at a crank angle of 470, or 110 ATDC near the point where peak
swirl occurs. High velocity jets from the valve curtain area are inducing considerable charge
motion. Overall, the mass weighted swirl and tumble ratios show behavior more typical of SI
engines, with a maximum value of swirl (-0.7) occurring at 475 CAD, or about 25 CAD after
peak piston velocity (at 450 CAD), as shown in Figure 3b. Both x and y direction tumble values
peak near 400 degrees with values of –0.7 and 0.8, respectively, when the valve is just opening
and the velocity of the annular flow around the valve into the cylinder is a maximum. Figure 4a
shows velocity vectors on a plane through the centerline of the valve stem at TDC compression.
Although there are several distinct structures underneath the valve at CA of 470, these structures
dissipate over the course of the compression leaving a clockwise swirling flow in the piston bowl
as shown in Figure 4b. The swirl will interact with the gasoline spray upon injection and the
motion of the fuel vapor cloud will be influenced.

Reacting In Cylinder Flows

A single mode (mode 5) in a six-mode test cycle was simulated using Fluent 6.1. The engine is a
fully instrumented Caterpillar 3400 series of 2.44 liters with a 15:1 geometric compression ratio
and a bore of 13.76 cm. Further specific information regarding the engine can be found in
Reference [3]. For the simulation of mode 5, the engine rpm was 1668, the start of injection was
2 CAD after TDC compression, the injected liquid used the properties of liquid benzene (c6h6)
approximated as constant as a function of temperature. The Wave approach [5] was used to
model secondary breakup, with model constants of B1=10 and B0 = 0.61 and the solid cone
atomizer was used to model the nozzle. It should be noted that little time was spent
characterizing the spray, as the main focus of the simulation was to explore the methodology of
implementing ignition delay models into Fluent6.1. Because the spray was not well
characterized, the overall agreement with experimental data was not as good as would be
expected if the spray were represented more accurately. Figure 5a shows the spray one degree
after start of injection with the color of the particles proportional to the drop diameter (initially
0.128 mm). Figure 5b shows an isosurface of fuel mass fraction colored by the temperature in the
domain. Since there is little chemical reaction at this point in the simulation, most of the surface
is of a color which corresponds to approximately 1000 K, or the compression temperature.

The ignition delay model was of the one equation type based on the work of Hardenburg and
Hase [6]. Figure 6 shows the mass averaged cylinder pressure as a function of crank angle,
compared with the experimentally obtained values. Ignition delay well represented and the peak
pressure is predicted accurately for both magnitude and phasing. Pressure after the burn is
underpredicted in this case, however as mentioned previously this is most likely the result of the
injector characterization.

Summary and Future Work

Fluent 6.1 represents a major step forward with respect to geometric flexibility in moving mesh
calculations. Numerous validations for non-reacting flows in moving geometries clearly
demonstrate the accuracy and flexibility of the approach. Additionally, computations of full
chemistry with the ISAT allow a speedup of one to three orders of magnitude when compared to
direct integration in a three dimensional domain for complex chemistry, and factors of two with
simple chemistry. However, more validation studies for in cylinder combustion simulations are
needed to evaluate the applicable range of the existing combustion models in Fluent 6.1.

In cylinder specific plans for the future releases include a Lagrangian based wall film model [7],
enhanced secondary breakup algorithms based on nonlinear stability theory and an
implementation of the RIF [8] combustion model for in cylinder diesel engine simulation.
Currently, multicomponent vaporization capability for the discrete phase model is planned for
implementation in the longer term that will allow a more accurate assessment of wall film
thickness and distribution for both PFI and DI engine geometries.

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the invaluable efforts and comments of Jerry
Lim, Graham Goldin, Shaoping Shi, Dan Lee and Yong Yi in the preparation of this work.


[1] Pope, S.B. “Computationally Efficient Implementation of Combustion Chemistry using In

Situ Adaptive Tabulation”, Combustion Theory and Modeling, Vol. 1, pp 41-63, 1997

[2] Reuss, et. al.., “Particle Image Velocimetry Measurements in a High Swirl Engine Used for
Evaluation of Computational Fluid Dynamics Calculations”, SAE 952381, 1995

[3] Montgomery, D. and Reitz, R., “Six Mode Cycle Evaluation of the Effect of EGR and
Multiple Injections of Particulate and NO Emissions from a DI Diesel Engine”, SAE 960316,

[4] Suh, Edward and Rutland, C.J. , “Numerical Study of Fuel/Air Mixture Preparation in a GDI
Engine”, SAE 1999-01-3657, 1999

[5] Reitz, R., “Modeling Atomization Processes in High-Pressure Vaporizing Sprays”,

Atomization and Spray Technology 3 (1987) 309-337

[6] Hardenburg H. O., and Hase, F. W., “An Empirical Formula for Computing the Pressure Rise
Delay of a Fuel from its Cetane Number and from the Relevant Parameters of Direct-Injection
Diesel Engines”, SAE 790493, 1979

[7] Stanton, D. W. and Rutland, C.J., “Multi-dimensional modeling of thin liquid films and spray
wall interactions resulting from impinging sprays”, Int. J. of Heat and Mass Transfer 41 (1998)

[8] Pitz, H., Barths, H. and Peters, N. “Three Dimensional Modeling of NOx and Soot Formation
in DI Diesel Engines Using Detailed Chemistry Based on the Interactive Flamelet Approach ”,
SAE technical paper 962057, 1996

a) b)

Figure 1:GM Research optical engine – geometry and valve configuration

a) mesh at TDC b) close up of cylinder head showing port junction
a) b) c)
Figure 2: Swirl at BDC intake for GM-Research optical engine at three locations showing the
swirl center precession as a function of axial distance a) y=2.5 mm b) y=4.5 mm c) y=6.5 mm

a) b)
Figure 3: Complex piston shape with narrow clearances (Geometry courtesy of Ed Suh) a) at peak
swirl and b) swirl and x, y tumble vs. crank angle

a) b)
Figure 4: Suh GDI engine at TDC compression – velocity vectors
a) valve centerline b)2 mm underneath valve perpendicular to valve stem
a) b)
Figure 5: CAT DI diesel engine at 2 CAD after start of injection
a) spray plume b) temperature on an isosurface of Y_fuel = 0.001

Figure 6: Mass averaged cylinder pressure for the mode 5 CAT engine simulation (data shown as
symbols – computations shown as lines)