Autoignition behavior of gasoline/ethanol blends at engine-relevant conditions

Song Cheng, Dongil Kang, Aleksandr Fridlyand, S. Scott Goldsborough, Chiara Saggese, Scott Wagnon, Matthew J. McNenly, Marco Mehl, William J. Pitz, David Vuilleumier

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Ethanol is an attractive oxygenate increasingly used for blending with petroleum-derived gasoline yielding beneficial combustion and emissions behavior for a range of internal combustion engine schemes, including stoichiometric spark-ignition and low temperature combustion (LTC). As such, it is important to fundamentally understand the autoignition behavior of gasoline/ethanol blends. This work utilizes a rapid compression machine (RCM) and a homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine to experimentally quantify changes in fuel reactivity, through ignition delay times and preliminary heat release, for blends of 0 to 30% vol./vol. into a full boiling range research gasoline (FACE-F). Diluted/stoichiometric and undiluted/fuel-lean conditions are explored covering a wide range of compressed temperatures and pressures relevant to conventional and advanced, gasoline combustion engines. Detailed chemical kinetic modeling is undertaken using a recently updated gasoline surrogate model in conjunction with a five-component surrogate to model the RCM experiments and provide chemical insight into the perturbative effects of ethanol on the autoignition process. The diluted/stoichiometric RCM measurements reveal that within the low-temperature regime ethanol retards first-stage and main ignition delay times, and suppresses both the rates and extents of low-temperature heat release (LTHR), while within the intermediate-temperature regime ethanol only causes slight changes. Good agreement of ignition delay time and preliminary heat release prediction is found between model and experimental results. Sensitivity and flux analyses further show that ethanol blending effects are dominated by the competition between the H-atom abstraction from ethanol and other fuel components by OH radical at low temperatures, and by HO2 radical at intermediate temperatures. These findings are consistent across both fuel loading conditions explored in this study. In addition, when HCCI engine experiments are mapped onto undiluted/lean RCM measurements under a constant combustion phasing scenario, good correspondence between the two apparatuses is observed for LTHR and start of high-temperature heat release. The current study highlights the importance of characterizing LTHR in predicting fuel behaviors in high-boost/low-temperature engines, and demonstrates that RCM experiments can provide an alternative, and more-efficient avenue for such characterization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-384
Number of pages16
JournalCombustion and Flame
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoignition
  • Chemical kinetic modeling
  • Gasoline/ethanol blends
  • Preliminary heat release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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