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Proceedings Paper

Laser induced ignition
Author(s): G. Liedl; D. Schuöcker; B. Geringer; J. Graf; D. Klawatsch; H. P. Lenz; W. F. Piock; M. Jetzinger; P. Kapus
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Paper Abstract

Nowadays, combustion engines and other combustion processes play an overwhelming and important role in everyday life. As a result, ignition of combustion processes is of great importance, too. Usually, ignition of a combustible material is defined in such a way that an ignition initiates a self-sustained reaction which propagates through the inflammable material even in the case that the ignition source has been removed. In most cases, a well defined ignition location and ignition time is of crucial importance. Spark plugs are well suited for such tasks but suffer from some disadvantages, like erosion of electrodes or restricted positioning possibilities. In some cases, ignition of combustible materials by means of high power laser pulses could be beneficial. High power lasers offer several different possibilities to ignite combustible materials, like thermal ignition, resonant ignition or optical breakdown ignition. Since thermal and resonant ignitions are not well suited on the requirements mentioned previously, only optical breakdown ignition will be discussed further. Optical breakdown of a gas within the focal spot of a high power laser allows a very distinct localization of the ignition spot in a combustible material. Since pulse duration is usually in the range of several nanoseconds, requirements on the ignition time are fulfilled easily, too. Laser peak intensities required for such an optical breakdown are in the range of 1011 W/cm2. The hot plasma which forms during this breakdown initiates the following self-propagating combustion process. It has been shown previously that laser ignition of direct injection engines improves the fuel consumption as well as the exhaust emissions of such engines significantly. The work presented here gives a brief overview on the basics of laser induced ignition. Flame propagation which follows a successful ignition event can be distinguished into two diffrent regimes. Combustion processes within an engine are usually quite slow - the reaction velocity is mainly determined by the heat conductivity of the combustible. Such deflagrations processes show propagation velocities well below the speed of sound. On the other hand, detonations show much higher propagation velocities. In contrast to deflagrations, detonations show propagation velocities higher than the speed of sound within the combustible. The shock front which propagates through a combustible in the case of a detonation is responsible for a considerable pressure gradient moving at supersonic velocity. Basics and possible examples of laser induced ignitions of deflagrations and detonations are given and pros and cons of laser ignition systems are discussed briefly.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 April 2007
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 6346, XVI International Symposium on Gas Flow, Chemical Lasers, and High-Power Lasers, 63461K (26 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.738684
Show Author Affiliations
G. Liedl, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
D. Schuöcker, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
B. Geringer, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
J. Graf, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
D. Klawatsch, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
H. P. Lenz, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
W. F. Piock, AVL List GmbH (Austria)
M. Jetzinger, AVL List GmbH (Austria)
P. Kapus, AVL List GmbH (Austria)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6346:
XVI International Symposium on Gas Flow, Chemical Lasers, and High-Power Lasers

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