Preliminary Simulation Study of Flow Field Around a Spark Plug Under Ambient and Engine Conditions

  • Navjot Sandhu
  • Shouvik Dev
  • Divyanshu Purohit
  • Zhenyi Yang
  • Ming ZhengEmail author
  • David Ting
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Energy book series (SPE)


Sustainable transportation solutions for the future would require advanced powertrains which can meet the goals of emission and fuel consumption reduction. One option could be high-efficiency spark ignition (SI) internal combustion engines using conventional or renewable fuels. Such SI engines in the future may operate under lean conditions at which the air is in excess with respect to the fuel. Typically, ignition and complete combustion of such a lean mixture of air and fuel is a challenge owing to the reduced charge reactivity. One solution is to enhance the in-cylinder charge motion to increase the flame velocity. However, this charge motion can affect the initial spark breakdown and the consequent flame kernel development. Therefore, in order to estimate the flow field around the spark plug, a simulation study is undertaken. The simulations are performed using ConvergeTM three-dimensional simulation suite (version 2.3). ANSYS EnSight (version 10.1) is used for post-processing of the simulation data. Two types of flow fields are simulated. The first flow field simulates a cross-flow of air across the electrode gap of a conventional J-type spark plug under ambient pressure. The flow upstream of the plug is laminar, and the flow velocity is varied. This part of the study is used to determine the effect of the spark plug geometry on the flow. The second condition simulates the in-cylinder flow field of a two-valve, single-cylinder engine. The intake air flow rate is the main variable. The numerical estimation of the flow velocity and the turbulence around the spark gap are correlated with the experimental results. Preliminary results indicate that the spark plug can generate turbulence in its wake under steady flow conditions and the vorticity magnitudes can be correlated to the electrical parameters. In the engine, the flow field in and near the spark gap may not correlate with the bulk air motion.



Adaptive Mesh Refinement


Before Top Dead Center


Computational Fluid Dynamics


Direct Current


Exhaust Gas Recirculation


Internal Combustion


Turbulent kinetic energy


Mass Air Flow


Nitrogen Oxides


Renormalized Group


Spark Ignition


Top Dead center

\( \overline{U} \)

Mean flow velocity


Turbulent velocity


Dissipation Rate





The authors gratefully acknowledge Convergent Science for the use of their simulation suite (version 2.3) and ANSYS for the use of EnSight (version 10.1). Furthermore, the authors acknowledge the Canada Research Chair program, NSERC, CFI, OIT, the University of Windsor, Ford Motor Company, and other OEMs for their support of the research at the Clean Combustion Engine Laboratory.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Navjot Sandhu
    • 1
  • Shouvik Dev
    • 1
  • Divyanshu Purohit
    • 1
  • Zhenyi Yang
    • 1
  • Ming Zheng
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Ting
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical, Automotive and Materials EngineeringUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

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