Fuel Economy pp 183-224 | Cite as

Flame Propagation and Heat-Transfer Effects in Spark Ignition Engines

  • Claus Borgnakke


The essential characteristics of the internal combustion engine are ultimately determined by the processes that take place in the combustion chamber. It is these processes that generate the power output, the heat losses, and the formation of pollutants and therefore determine the trade-off between efficiency and emissions. The need thus arises to identify and qualify the significant physical processes that take place in the combustion chamber. Only after this accomplishment is it possible to establish a control of the major parameters that influence the combustion process so desired design goals can be achieved. In the past an acceptable level of understanding of the phenomenon involved has been reached through an analysis of experimental evidence and the pursuit of theoretical investigations. The processes inside the combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine involve a broad range of different subjects. The characterization includes chemistry, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer, to mention a few of the most important fields as outlined in Fig. 1. Furthermore, the combustion process takes place in such a highly complex environment that an accurate and detailed description on a fundamental level cannot be done with present-day knowledge. Through numerous experiments a large amount of information has been acquired allowing the key processes to be identified and investigated in more detail. Guided by these experiments and the theoretical analysis, semiempirical methods have been used to develop the internal combustion engine, and such two-sided investigations are necessary for the successful development of the internal combustion engine. Though today’s engine is highly sophisticated, continued research efforts produce an increased understanding of the different processes leading to an improvement of the overall engine performance.


Combustion Chamber Flame Front Thermal Boundary Layer Flame Propagation Turbulent Flame 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claus Borgnakke
    • 1
  1. 1.Automotive LaboratoryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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