Optical combustion analysis

What is optical combustion analysis?

Optical combustion analysis is a process from the field of measurement technology that is used in the development of combustion engines. In addition to investigations by means of cylinder pressure measurement, optical probes, endoscopes or camera systems provide direct visual insight into the combustion chamber. The users receive additional information about the quality of the combustion process and can use it to make optimizations such as increasing the efficiency or reducing emissions.

How is optical combustion analysis performed?

Depending on the engine type (e.g., SI or CI engine), a suitable optical measuring instrument is used and can directly observe the processes in the cylinder. This may be, for example, a modified standard spark plug that is equipped with fiber-optic sensors. It is also possible to use special high-speed cameras that record in the microsecond range. If necessary, an additional light source must be provided here.

What results does the optical combustion analysis supply?

Using optical measurement methods, the following phenomena can be examined and undesirable effects avoided:

  • Knocking
  • Mixture formation 
  • Flame kernel development
  • Flame distribution and propagation
  • Soot formation
  • Pre-ignition and misfire
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