A towering inferno in microcosm, lasting for fractions of a second, the swirling mix of air and atomised fuel as it explodes in the cylinder (turbulence helps the mixing process between the fuel and oxidiser) would seem to defy analysis. Nevertheless the mix is governed by the same fluid dynamics equations that quantify smoke swirling from, say, a chimney, where large swirls of smoke spin off chains of smaller ones. Analysis of very large numbers of such complex equations requires massive computing power, and a team led by mechanical engineers Joseph Oefelein and Jacqueline Chen of Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) is using the Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (ORLCF) for just this purpose.
LES reveals how fuel from a state-of-the-art injector mixes with air inside an engine cylinder
(Image credit: Joseph Oefelein and Daniel Strong, Sandia National Laboratories)
Supercomputing Helps Engine Manufacturers
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