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SwRI to Launch Low-Speed Preignition Prevention Program (P3) Consortium

Damaged pistons are just one of several potential failure modes from engines that exhibit LSPI. Photo: SwRI. Click to enlarge.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) will launch a new consortium—the Preiginition Prevention Program (P3)—focusing on fuels and lubricants to discover ways to suppress low-speed preignition (LSPI), a condition that causes heavy engine knock and can seriously damage engine parts or cause complete engine failure. LSPI is considered an impediment to aggressive engine downsizing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Low-speed preignition events are random, infrequent occurrences that happen at low speed and high torque, and their causes are not completely understood. In LSPI, the fuel in the combustion chamber is ignited before the spark event, causing significantly advanced combustion phasing. Under these conditions, a preignition event leads to very heavy knock, which can cause catastrophic damage in only a few engine cycles.

In June, SwRI demonstrated that its HEDGE (High-Efficiency, Dilute Gasoline Engine) technology, using cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and advanced ignition systems, suppresses low-speed pre-ignition in turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engines. (Earlier post.)

When you ignite the fuel too early, you have very high knock. These early ignition occurrences are very infrequent and random but can be quite destructive. The current solutions to get around the problem are very costly.

The P3 Consortium will help us gain an understanding of fundamental issues of low-speed preignition. We are going to investigate interactions of fuels and lubricants to understand what role physical and chemical properties play in low-speed preignition.

—Chris Chadwell, senior research engineer in the Advanced Combustion and Emissions Section in SwRI’s Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division

The consortium will develop control solutions and guidelines to prevent or reduce incidences of LSPI.

As an independent R&D laboratory, SwRI has extensive experience in managing consortia. The HEDGE-II consortium (earlier post) is developing high efficiency spark ignition engine technologies, and the Clean Diesel V consortium (earlier post), now in its 19th consecutive year of research, is developing efficiency and emissions solutions for future diesel engines.

Cost to join the P3 Consortium is $225,000 for original equipment manufacturers and those in the fuels and lubricants industry. For engine component suppliers the fee is $175,000. Consortium members will have the right to access any patents that are produced from the consortium’s work.

The initial meeting for the Preignition Prevention Program Consortium is scheduled for January 2011.


Henry Gibson

Use diesel engines instead. ..HG..

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