Linking instantaneous rate of injection to X-ray needle lift measurements for a direct-acting piezoelectric injector

Juan P. Viera, Raul Payri, Andrew B. Swantek, Daniel J. Duke, Nicolas Sovis, Alan L. Kastengren, Christopher F. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Internal combustion engines have been and still are key players in today's world. Ever increasing fuel consumption standards and the ongoing concerns about exhaust emissions have pushed the industry to research new concepts and develop new technologies that address these challenges. To this end, the diesel direct injection system has recently seen the introduction of direct-acting piezoelectric injectors, which provide engineers with direct control over the needle lift, and thus instantaneous rate of injection (ROI). Even though this type of injector has been studied previously, no direct link between the instantaneous needle lift and the resulting rate of injection has been quantified. This study presents an experimental analysis of the relationship between instantaneous partial needle lifts and the corresponding ROI. A prototype direct-acting injector was utilized to produce steady injections of different magnitude by partially lifting the needle. The ROI measurements were carried out at CMT-Motores Térmicos utilizing a standard injection rate discharge curve indicator based on the Bosch method (anechoic tube). The needle lift measurements were performed at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. The analysis seeks both to contribute to the current understanding of the influence that partial needle lifts have over the instantaneous ROI and to provide experimental data with parametric variations useful for numerical model validations. Results show a strong relationship between the steady partial needle lift and the ROI. The effect is non-linear, and also strongly dependent on the injection pressure. The steady lift value at which the needle ceases to influence the ROI increases with the injection pressure. Finally, a transient analysis is presented, showing that the needle velocity may considerably affect the instantaneous ROI, because of the volume displaced inside the nozzle. Results presented in this study show that at constant injection pressure and energizing time, this injector has the potential to control many aspects of the ROI and thus, the heat release rate. Also, data presented are useful for numerical model validations, which would provide detailed insight into the physical processes that drive these observations, and potentially, to the effects of these features on combustion performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-358
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Diesel direct injection
  • Needle lift
  • Rate of injection
  • Synchrotron
  • X-ray imaging

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