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Despite the fact that the internal combustion engine has been in existence for 140 years, during which time it has undergone continuous development, it still offers scope for improvement.
Jan Eismark and his colleague Michael Balthasar came up with the new wave design, which has now been patented. However, cutting-edge technology was needed to prove that their initial ideas were correct and to determine the exact design of the piston crown. This entailed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and filming the combustion process inside the cylinder at high speed.
In the case of a standard piston, the injector is located at the top of the cylinder and the fuel is sprayed toward the sides of the cylinder through a number of orifices in the injector. The combination of heat and pressure causes the fuel to ignite before it reaches the cylinder wall.
The flame hits the wall of the combustion chamber at a speed of up to 50 meters per second, spreads along the piston bowl wall and then collides with adjacent flames at an angle of 180 degrees, while still traveling at a high speed.