Studies of multi-channel spark ignition of lean n-pentane/air mixtures in a spherical chamber

Hao Zhao, Ningbo Zhao, Tianhan Zhang, Shuqun Wu, Guoming Ma, Chao Yan, Yiguang Ju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


A novel ignition strategy using multi-channel sparks was developed in this paper. Compared with the typical single spark, the three-channel spark ignition technique enables three spatially separated and temporally synchronized discharges to increase the ignition kernel size while maintaining the same total ignition energy. The three-channel discharge characteristics, ignition kernel development, and ignition probability of lean n-pentane/air mixtures were studied and compared with those of single-channel spark in a spherical combustion chamber with different discharge distances, pressures, and CO2 dilution levels. The experimental results show that the three-channel sparks increase the ignition probability and dramatically extend the fuel-lean ignition limits compared to the single-channel discharge under all tested conditions. Moreover, ignition enhancement effects of multi-channel sparks increase with the decrease of pressure, reduction of discharge gap, and increase of CO2 dilution. One-dimensional numerical simulation was performed by using a detailed n-pentane kinetic model (Bugler et al., 2017) and the results revealed that the increase of fuel lean ignition probability and the decrease of the minimum ignition energy by using multi-channel sparks were the outcome of increased ignition kernel size compared to the minimum critical ignition radius. This present study confirms the advantages of using multi-channel sparks on advanced fuel-lean combustion engines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - Feb 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Critical ignition radius
  • Fuel lean ignition
  • Minimum ignition energy
  • Multi-channel sparks
  • Spark ignition


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