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Fuel Injection and Spray Research

Gasoline Sprays

Animated image of fuel emerging from a gasoline injector
Animated image of fuel emerging from a gasoline injector (simulated environment).

Some newer automobiles in the U.S. use gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines. These advanced gasoline engines inject the fuel directly into the engine cylinder rather than into the intake port. These engines can achieve higher fuel efficiency, but they depend on a precise fuel/air mixture at the spark plug to initiate ignition. This leads to more stringent requirements on spray quality and reproducibility.

GDI also enables new combustion strategies for gasoline engines such as lean burn engines that use less fuel and air. Lean burn engines may achieve efficiencies near those of diesels while producing low emissions. This advanced combustion strategy relies on precise mixing of the fuel and air to achieve clean, efficient power generation.

Argonne performed the first quantitative, dynamic, three-dimensional reconstruction of a fuel spray, which revealed the striking asymmetry of sprays from a prototype gasoline injector. Argonne researches have worked with several U.S. manufacturers to help them understand the performance of their injectors, and to assist them in the development of a new GDI injection system, from prototype to final production design.


This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program under Gurpreet Singh.


  • Near Field Characterization of Direct Injection Gasoline Sprays from Multi-Hole Injector Using Ultrafast X-Tomography (980 kB pdf)

Christopher Powell

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