This report analyzes the heating and vaporization process of fuel droplets in a compression-ignition engine on the basis of the theory of similitude - according to which, the period for heating and complete vaporization of the average size fuel drop is only a fraction of the actually observed ignition lag. The result is that ignition takes place in the fuel vapor air mixture rather than on the surface of the drop. The theoretical result is in accord with the experimental observations by Rothrock and Waldron. The combustion shock occurring at lower terminal compression temperature, especially in the combustion of coal-tar oil, is attributable to a simultaneous igniting of a larger fuel-vapor volume formed prior to ignition.
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