Low Temperature Compression Ignition (LTCI) combustion employing multiple injection strategies in an optical High-Speed Direct Injection (HSDI) diesel engine was investigated in this work. Heat release characteristics were analyzed through the measurement of in-cylinder pressure. The whole cycle combustion process was visualized with a high-speed digital video camera by imaging natural flame luminosity and three-dimensional-like combustion structures were obtained by taking flame images from both the bottom of the optical piston and the side window simultaneously. The NOx emissions were measured in the exhaust pipe. The effects of pilot injection timing, pilot fuel quantity, main injection timing, operating load, and injection pressure on the combustion and emissions were studied. Low temperature combustion mode was achieved by using a small pilot injection with an injection timing much earlier than TDC followed by a main injection after TDC. For comparison, experiment of a diffusion diesel combustion case was also conducted. Premixed-combustion-dominated heat release rate pattern was seen for all the low temperature combustion cases, while a typical diffusion flame combustion heat release rate was obtained for the conventional combustion case. Highly luminous flame was observed for the conventional combustion condition while much less luminous flame was seen for the low temperature combustion cases. For the higher load and lower injection pressure cases, liquid fuel being injected into low temperature premixed flame was observed for certain cases, which was different from the conventional diesel combustion with liquid fuel injected into hot premixed flame. Compared with the conventional diffusion diesel combustion, simultaneous reduction of soot and NOx was obtained for the low temperature combustion mode at both the same and increased injection pressure with similar operating load. For high load conditions, higher NOx emissions were obtained than the low load conditions with the same injection pressure due to a higher in-cylinder temperature under high load conditions with more fuel burned. However, compared with the diffusion combustion mode with a lower load at lower injection pressure, a significant reduction of soot was achieved for the high load conditions, which shows that increasing injection pressure greatly reduce soot emissions.

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