The Internal combustion engine (Otto Cycle)
The Otto cycle is a set of processes used by spark ignition internal combustion engines (2-stroke or 4-stroke cycles). These engines a) ingest a mixture of fuel and air, b) compress it, c) cause it to react, thus effectively adding heat through converting chemical energy into thermal energy, d) expand the combustion products, and then e) eject the combustion products and replace them with a new charge of fuel and air. The different processes are shown in Figure 3.8:
- Intake stroke, gasoline vapor and air drawn into engine ( ).
- Compression stroke, , increase ( ).
- Combustion (spark), short time, essentially constant volume ( ). Model: heat absorbed from a series of reservoirs at temperatures to .
- Power stroke: expansion ( ).
- Valve exhaust: valve opens, gas escapes.
- ( ) Model: rejection of heat to series of reservoirs at temperatures to .
- Exhaust stroke, piston pushes remaining combustion products out of chamber ( ).
We model the processes as all acting on a fixed mass of air contained in a piston-cylinder arrangement, as shown in Figure 3.10.
Figure 3.8: The ideal Otto cycle
Figure 3.9: Sketch of an actual Otto cycle
Figure 3.10: Piston and valves in a four-stroke internal combustion engine
The actual cycle does not have the sharp transitions between the different processes that the ideal cycle has, and might be as sketched in Figure 3.9.
The starting point is the general expression for the thermal efficiency of a cycle:
The convention, as previously, is that heat exchange is positive if heat is flowing into the system or engine, so is negative. The heat absorbed occurs during combustion when the spark occurs, roughly at constant volume. The heat absorbed can be related to the temperature change from state 2 to state 3 as:
The heat rejected is given by (for a perfect gas with constant specific heats)
Substituting the expressions for the heat absorbed and rejected in the expression for thermal efficiency yields
We can simplify the above expression using the fact that the processes from 1 to 2 and from 3 to 4 are isentropic:
Figure 3.11: Ideal Otto cycle thermal efficiency
The ideal Otto cycle efficiency is shown as a function of the compression ratio in Figure 3.11. As the compression ratio, , increases, increases, but so does . If is too high, the mixture will ignite without a spark (at the wrong location in the cycle).
The non-dimensional ratio of work done (the power) to the enthalpy flux through the engine is given by
There is often a desire to increase this quantity, because it means a smaller engine for the same power. The heat input is given by
- is the heat of reaction, i.e. the chemical energy liberated per unit mass of fuel,
- is the fuel mass flow rate.
The non-dimensional power is
The quantities in this equation, evaluated at stoichiometric conditions are: