The emission trade-off between soot and NOx is an issue of major concern in automotive diesel applications. Measures need to be taken both on the engine and on the aftertreatment sides in order to optimize the engine emissions while maintaining the highest possible efficiency. It is known that post injections have a potential for exhaust soot reduction without any significant influence in the NOx emissions. However, an accurate and general rule of how to parameterize a post injection such that it provides a maximum reduction of soot emissions does not exist. Moreover, the underlying mechanisms are not understood in detail.

The experimental investigation presented here provides insight into the fundamental mechanisms of soot formation and reduction due to post injections under different turbulence and reaction kinetic conditions. In parallel to the measurement of soot elementary carbon in the exhaust (using a Photo Acoustic Soot Sensor), the in-cylinder soot formation and oxidation process have been investigated with an Optical Light Probe (OLP). This sensor provides crank angle resolved information about the in-cylinder soot evolution.

The experiments confirm conclusions of earlier works that soot reduction due to a post injection is mainly based on two reasons: increased turbulence (from the post injection) during soot oxidation and lower soot formation due to lower amount of fuel in the main combustion at similar load conditions. A third effect of heat addition during the soot oxidation, which was often mentioned in the literature, could not be confirmed. In addition, the experiments show that variations of turbulence (from swirl) and reaction kinetics have a minor influence on the diffusion controlled heat release rate. However, the time phasing of the soot evolution is highly influenced by these variations with only small changes in the peak soot concentration. It is shown that the soot reduction of a post injection depends on the timing. More precisely, the soot reduction capability of a post injection decreases rapidly as soon as its timing is late in the soot oxidation phase. The soot oxidation rate can only be improved by increased turbulence and heat addition from the post injection in a time window before the in-cylinder soot peak occurs. Depending on EGR and swirl level, a maximum dwell time can be defined after which the post injection effect becomes counterproductive with respect to the soot oxidation rate.

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