The second law of thermodynamics is a powerful tool for investigating thermodynamic irreversibilities and to identify pathways for improving efficiencies of energy systems, including IC engines. In the present work, second law analysis is applied to quantify irreversibilities in diesel-ignited natural gas dual fuel low temperature combustion (LTC), which utilizes diesel to ignite natural gas to simultaneously reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter. A previously validated multi zone thermodynamic model of dual fuel LTC was used as the basic framework to perform the second law analysis. The multi-zone model, which simulates closed cycle processes between intake valve closure (IVC) and exhaust valve opening (EVO), divides the cylinder contents into four main zones: (i) an unburned zone containing a premixed natural gas-air mixture, (ii) a pilot fuel zone (or “packets”) containing diesel vapor and entrained natural gas-air mixture, (iii) a flame zone, and (iv) a burned zone. By applying the second law systematically to each zone, the total entropy generated over the closed cycle (Sgen) and the lost available work (Wlost = T0*Sgen) were quantified. Subsequently, the lost available work was divided by the displaced volume to calculate a new engine performance parameter labeled “lost available indicated mean effective pressure” (LAIMEP). Proceeding analogously from the definition of indicated mean effective pressure (IMEP) as an engine-size-normalized measure of indicated work, the LAIMEP may be interpreted as an engine-size-normalized measure of available work that is lost due to thermodynamic irreversibilities. Since LAIMEP is independent of engine size, it can be used to compare thermodynamic irreversibilities between engines of various displaced volumes as well as between different engine combustion strategies. Two additional second-law-based parameters: fuel conversion irreversibility (FCI) as the ratio of Wlost to total fuel chemical energy input and normalized LAIMEP as the ratio of LAIMEP to IMEP, were also defined. Parametric studies were performed at different diesel injection timings (SOI ∼ 300–340 CAD), intake temperatures (Tin ∼ 50°–150°C), and intake boost pressures (Pin ∼ 1–2.4 bar) to characterize their impact on LAIMEP and FCI. It was determined that both LAIMEP and FCI increased with SOI advancement (from 340 to 300 CAD) and decreased with increasing Tin and Pin. These trends were explained using predicted combustion parameters, especially burned mass fraction and average in-cylinder temperature at EVO. While the present work focused on diesel-natural gas dual fuel LTC (as an example), the overall methodology adopted for the second law analysis as well as the conceptual definitions of LAIMEP, FCI, etc., are generally applicable to any IC engine operating on any combustion strategy (e.g., SI, CI, LTC, etc.).

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