GE announces next-generation fuel injector design project

A new high-performance computing project is aiming to design next-generation fuel injectors for GE’s engine fleet.

GE Global Research will partner with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Arizona State University (ASU) and Cornell University on the project.

‘Currently fuel injectors are designed after lengthy optimisation trials, partly because today’s fuel injectors have complex geometries that challenge conventional wisdom on how these injectors work,’ said GE mechanical engineer Madhu Pai. ‘High-fidelity computer simulations can significantly reduce the number of trials and can provide insight into why a fuel injector behaves the way it does.’

The team hopes to gain a better understanding of critical unsteady spray phenomena observed in fuel injectors used in today’s liquid-fuelled engines. These unsteady spray phenomena are sometimes inaccessible to experimental measurements. Computer simulations can provide much-needed insight into the origin of the unsteadiness, but doing this requires very powerful supercomputers to accurately capture the underlying physics.

Using the supercomputer, the team will apply a methodology called Large Eddy Simulation (LES) to model the fuel injector. The supercomputer will also give a 360° view of the inside of the injector.

‘Having a better understanding of how the fuel/air mixture combusts will help us ultimately build more powerful engines that consume less fuel and have lower emissions. High-performance computing will ultimately help in reducing development time and cost of the fuel injector,’ Pai said.