SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 59 , Issue 1 : 109-116(2016) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-015-5950-9

Characteristic of rich-mixture ignition kernel driven by nanosecond repetitive pulsed discharge

More info
  • ReceivedJul 18, 2015
  • AcceptedOct 3, 2015
  • PublishedNov 3, 2015


Plasma-assisted ignition is a promising technology to improve engine performance. Nanosecond repetitive pulsed discharge is widely used in plasma-assisted ignition owing to its chemical activations and thermal and hydrodynamic expansions. However, the influence of ultrafast heating and hydrodynamic effects on the development of the rich-mixture ignition kernel is largely unknown. The present study aims to illustrate these effects using electrical and schlieren measurement. The number and the frequency of discharge pulses are exactly controlled to establish the relationship among the discharge energy, frequency, and rich-mixture ignition-kernel characteristics. The evolution of the ignition kernel in the early stage is mainly dominated by the discharge energy and frequency, i.e., a greater energy and a higher frequency yield a larger ignition kernel. Moreover, the influence of both the energy and frequency on the ignition kernel gradually disappears as the ignition kernel develops. According to the experimental data and theoretical analysis, the calculated laminar burning velocity is 0.319 m/s with a Markstein length of 13.43±0.11 cm when the voltage is 5.9 kV, the frequency is 3 kHz, and the equivalence ratio is 1.3. This result indicates that the rich-mixture flame is stable in the early stage of ignition.

Funded by

National Natural Science Foundation of China(51336011)

National Natural Science Foundation of China(amp; 51522606)

Science Foundation for the Author of National Excellent Doctoral Dissertation of China(201172)


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51336011 & 51522606), and the Science Foundation for the Author of National Excellent Doctoral Dissertation of China (Grant No. 201172).


[1] Starikovskiy A, Aleksandrov N. Plasma-assisted ignition and combustion. Aeronaut Astronaut, 2011, 1: 331–368. Google Scholar

[2] Sun W, Ju Y. Non-equilibrium plasma-assisted combustion: A review of recent progress. J Plasma Fusion Res, 2013, 89: 208–219. Google Scholar

[3] Starikovskiy A, Aleksandrov N. Plasma-assisted ignition and combustion. Prog Energy Combust Sci, 2013, 39: 61-110 CrossRef Google Scholar

[4] Starikovskii A Y. Plasma-supported combustion. P Combust Inst, 2005, 30: 2405–2417. Google Scholar

[5] Starikovskaia S M. Plasma-assisted ignition and combustion. J Phys D Appl Phys, 2006, 39: 265–299. Google Scholar

[6] Pancheshnyi S V, Lacoste D A, Bourdon A, et al. Ignition of propane–air mixtures by a repetitively pulsed nanosecond discharge. IEEE Trans Plasma Sci, 2006, 34: 2478-2487 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[7] Cathey C D, Tang T, Shiraishi T, et al. Nanosecond plasma ignition for improved performance of an internal combustion engine. IEEE Trans Plasma Sci, 2007, 35: 1664-1668 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[8] Cathey C D. Spatial and time resolved study of transient plasma induced OH production in quiescent CH-air mixtures. Dissertation of Doctor Degree. California: University of Southern California, 2007. Google Scholar

[9] Xu D A. Thermal and hydrodynamic effects of nanosecond discharges in air and application to plasma-assisted combustion. Dissertation of Doctor Degree. Paris: Ecole Centrale Paris, 2014. Google Scholar

[10] Xu D A, Lacoste D A, Laux C O. Schlieren imaging of shock-wave formation induced by ultrafast heating of a nanosecond repetitively pulsed discharge in air. IEEE Trans Plasma Sci, 2014, 42: 2350-2351 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[11] Ozasa T, Kozuka K, Fujiakawa T. Schlieren observations of in-cylinder phenomena concerning a direct-injection gasoline engine. In: Proceedings of the 1998 SAE International Fall Fuels and Lubricants Meeting and Exposition, San Francisco: SAE, 1998. 982696. Google Scholar

[12] Fukanno Y, Hisaki H, Kida S, et al. In-cylinder combustion in a natural gas fueled spark ignition engine probed by high speed schlieren method and its dependence on engine specifications. In: Proceedings of the 1999 SAE International Spring Fuels and Lubricants Meeting and Exposition, Dearborn: SAE, 1999. 01 1493. Google Scholar

[13] Eisazadeh-Far K, Parsinejad F, Metghalchi H, et al. On flame kernel formation and propagation in premixed gases. Combust Flame, 2010, 157: 2211-2221 CrossRef Google Scholar

[14] Zhao Q, Liu S Z, Tong H H. Plasma Technology and Application. Beijing: National Defence Industry Press, 2009. 2. Google Scholar

[15] Aleksandrov N L, Kindusheva S V, Kosarev I N, et al. Analysis of energetic efficiency and kinetics of intermediates in the problem of plasma assisted ignition. In: AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition 2009– 0692, Orlando, Florida, 2009. Google Scholar

[16] Rusterholtz D L, Lacoste D A, Stancu G D, et al. Ultrafast heating and oxygen dissociation in atmospheric pressure air by nanosecond repetitively pulsed discharges J Phys D Appl Phys, 2013, 46: 464010. Google Scholar

[17] Popov N A. Investigation of the mechanism for rapid heating of nitrogen and air in gas discharges. Plasma Phys Rep, 2001, 27: 886-896 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[18] Ko Y, Anderson R W, Arpaci V S. Spark ignition of propane-air mixtures near the minimum ignition energy: Part I. An experimental study. Combust Flame, 1991, 83: 75-87 CrossRef Google Scholar

[19] Chen Z, Burke M P, Ju Y. Effects of Lewis number and ignition energy on the determination of laminar flame speed using propagating spherical flames. Proc Combust Institute, 2009, 32: 1253-1260 CrossRef Google Scholar

[20] Shiraishi T, Urushihara T, Gundersen M. A trial of ignition innovation of gasoline engine by nanosecond pulsed low temperature plasma ignition. J Phys D-Appl Phys, 2009, 42: 135208 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[21] Bradley D. Burning velocities, Markstein lengths, and flame quenching for spherical methane-air flames: A computational study. Combust Flame, 1996, 104: 176-198 CrossRef Google Scholar

[22] Huang Z, Zhang Y, Zeng K, et al. Measurements of laminar burning velocities for natural gas–hydrogen–air mixtures. Combust Flame, 2006, 146: 302-311 CrossRef Google Scholar

[23] Metghalchi M, Keck J C. Laminar burning velocity of propane-air mixtures at high temperature and pressure. Combust Flame, 1980, 38: 143-154 CrossRef Google Scholar

[24] Vagelopoulos C, Egolfopoulos F, Law C K. Further considerations on the determination of laminar flame speeds with the counter-flow twin-flame technique. In: 25th Symposium (international) on combustion, Pittsburgh, PA: The Combustion Institute, 1994. 1341–1347. Google Scholar

[25] Zhao Z, Kazakov A, Li J, et al. The initial temperature and n2 dilution effect on the laminar flame speed of propane/air. Combust Sci Tech, 2004, 176: 1705-1723 CrossRef Google Scholar

Copyright 2020 Science China Press Co., Ltd. 《中国科学》杂志社有限责任公司 版权所有

京ICP备17057255号       京公网安备11010102003388号