Combustion in lean large-bore natural gas engines is usually initiated by gas-scavenged prechambers. The hot reacting products of the combustion in the prechamber penetrate the main chamber as reacting jets, providing high ignition energy for the lean main chamber charge. The shape and intensity of the reaction zone in these jets are the key elements for efficient ignition and heat release in the main chamber. The influence of geometrical and operational parameters on the reaction during jet penetration was investigated in detail. As the periodically chargeable high pressure combustion cell used in the study provides full optical access to the entire main chamber the evolution of the spatial distribution of the reaction zones was investigated in terms of OH*-chemiluminescence. As jet penetration is a very fast and highly transient process the emission of OH* was recorded at a frequency of f = 30000 Hz. The macroscopic reaction zone parameters in the jet region (penetration length and angle, reacting area and light emission) reveal the influence of orifice size and prechamber gas injection on the heat release in the shear layer between the jet and the lean charge in the main chamber. In addition, the influence of the development of the reaction in these zones on the ignition probability and the main chamber pressure rise is shown. With an appropriate selection of the combination of the prechamber orifice geometry and the operating parameters significant improvements of ignition probability and heat release in the main chamber were obtained.

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