The effect of changes in compression ratio upon engine performance

Sparrow, Stanwood W

This report is based upon engine tests made at the Bureau of Standards during 1920, 1921, 1922, and 1923. The majority of these tests were of aviation engines and were made in the Altitude Laboratory. For a small portion of the work a single cylinder experimental engine was used. This, however, was operated only at sea-level pressures. The report shows that an increase in break horsepower and a decrease in the pounds of fuel used per brake horsepower hour usually results from an increase in compression ratio. This holds true at least up to the highest ratio investigated, 14 to 1, provided there is no serious preignition or detonation at any ratio. To avoid preignition and detonation when employing high-compression ratios, it is often necessary to use some fuel other than gasoline. It has been found that the consumption of some of these fuels in pounds per brake horsepower hour is so much greater than the consumption of gasoline that it offsets the decrease derived from the use of the high-compression ratio. The changes in indicated thermal efficiency with changes in compression ratio are in close agreement with what would be anticipated from a consideration of the air cycle efficiencies at the various ratios. In so far as these tests are concerned there is no evidence that a change in compression ratio produces an appreciable, consistent change in friction horsepower, volumetric efficiency, or in the range of fuel-air ratios over which the engine can operate. The ratio between the heat loss to the jacket water and the heat converted into brake horsepower or indicated horsepower decreases with increase in compression ratio. (author)

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