Enhancement of plasma assisted ignition by multi-voltage pulse discharges: A theoretical study

Nir Druker, Gideon Goldwine, Jerrold Barry Greenberg, Eran Sher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Currently, compression ignition engine technology is becoming less competitive compared to spark ignition engine technology due to emission standards. Lean combustion strategies are preferable for spark ignition engines, but they require enhanced ignition strategies compared to current stoichiometric spark ignition engines. In this paper, we lay physical foundations for such enhanced ignition strategies that can support lean combustion strategies in spark ignition engines. In this theoretical study, we conduct a preliminary foray into the possibility of controlling the species composition of a cold-plasma kernel as a precursor for an ignition process. We consider a multi-pulse electric source system coupled to a DBD (Dielectric Barrier Discharge) electrode immersed in a dry air medium. The coupled system is designed such that the medium in the electrodes’ gap is subjected to a pulse structure which is composed of a peak voltage followed by a secondary low-voltage pulse. Use is made of a comprehensive mathematical model that includes the electric field, potential and current, with the relevant conservation equations for 24 species and 168 kinetic reactions, while considering different energy modes (rotational, vibrational, electronic excitation, dissociation, and ionization) within the electrodes’ gap. The model was validated against independent published results, and was used to understand the mechanism of energy conversion to species that play a central role in terms of the ultimate ignition dynamics. Various pulse repetition frequencies and different pulse constructions were considered. Special attention was given to the amount of deposited energy, and to the energy channeled to known ignition supportive modes and species. The present results show that the energy deposition can be divided into two main stages which are characterized by high and low voltage levels, respectively. We propose that for more successful ignition, the amount of energy deposition during the second (low voltage) stage should be higher than that during the first (high voltage) stage. During the second stage, the deposition of energy into specific modes can be fine-tuned by setting appropriate voltage levels. Based on these findings, we demonstrate how control of the sequence of voltage pulses can further increase enhancement of ignition and combustion promoting processes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Engine Research
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Spark ignition engines
  • introduction of different energy modes
  • lean mixture ignition
  • multi-voltage pulse discharges
  • plasma assisted ignition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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