Multi-stage heat release of multi-component fuels: Insights and implications for advanced engine operation

Shannon Zhang, Matthew Lee, S. Scott Goldsborough, Song Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Multi-stage heat release (MSHR) is a unique phenomenon typically seen in lean/diluted and low- to intermediate-temperature combustion. Despite its relevance to advanced engine operation, the MSHR of multi-component fuels has barely been quantified. This study aims to characterize the MSHR of multi-component fuels in a rapid compression machine (RCM) at conditions representative of advanced combustion engines. New experimental data are first reported in the RCM at an equivalence ratio of 0.4, pressure of 60 bar and temperatures from 702 to 795 K for a research grade, multi-component gasoline surrogate, termed PACE-20. Experiments confirm the existence of MSHR for PACE-20 at all temperatures, and reveal the strong inhibiting effect of temperature on MSHR, where increasing temperature inhibits MSHR by suppressing first stage heat release and promoting second and third stage heat release. A detailed chemical kinetic model is also adopted to model the experiments, with good agreement observed. The response of MSHR characteristics to changes in different engine operating parameters (i.e., temperature, pressure, equivalence ratio and CO2 dilution level) and fuel compositions (i.e., mole fraction of n-pentane, n-heptane, isooctane, cyclopentane, 1-hexene, ethanol and aromatics in PACE-20) is further evaluated via statistical analysis coupling quasi-random sampling, extensive computer experiments and high-dimensional model representation. The change in MSHR is characterized through 8 quantities of interest (QOIs), i.e., duration and extent of each heat release stage, and their standard deviations. The analysis highlights the dependence of the QOIs on the individual parameters as well as their interplays, with temperature exhibiting the strongest impact among all parameters. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that if MSHR is to be facilitated and combustion phasing is to be extended to enable engine operation at higher compression ratios, it is recommended to operate the engine at low intake temperatures, boosted intake pressures and high CO2 dilutions (i.e., high EGR levels) with gasoline fuels containing more n-pentane and less aromatics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126218
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2023


  • High-dimensional model representation
  • Multi-component fuels
  • Multi-stage heat release
  • Rapid compression machine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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