Fuel Injector to Work as an Ionization Sensor and as an Injection Signal Detector in Electronically Controlled Fuel Injection Systems in Diesel and Direct Injection Gasoline Engines

Case ID:

Wayne State researchers have created an invention which uses one element in the engine, the fuel injector, to perform four tasks, injecting fuel, acting as an injection pulse detector, operating as a fuel injector malfunction detector and working as an ion sensor without modifying the fuel injector.  Internal combustion engine control has become more important than ever, as a result of the increasing restrictions on emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Minimizing the number of sensors and maximizing the engine performance and reliability is a goal for every engine manufacturer.

In the first task the fuel is injected into the cylinder based on the electric pulse coming from the engine ECU to its solenoid.  The second task is to work as a current probe (Timing Sensor) by detecting the injection pulse electric signal going from the ECU to the injector solenoid. The third task is to monitor the fuel injector reliability by detecting any undesirable fuel dripping during the cycle. The last task is to get a direct measurement from inside the cylinder head by working as an ionization sensor located in the middle of the combustion chamber.

Commercial Applications

•     HCCI, Diesel and Gasoline direct injection engines, particularly in compact vehicles

ยท         Can incorporated into OEM engine designs or retrofitted to existing engines as an aftermarket product

Competitive Advantages

• Reduces the number of sensors by allowing the fuel injector to function as three sensors, creating greater efficiency
• Eliminates the need to drill holes for the conventional ion sensor in compact engines
• Detects if combustion failure is due to fuel delivery problem or engine misfire
• Measures the Ignition Delay which is key information in Multi-Fuel Compression Ignition engines
• Cost effective

Patent Status

Patent Pending: 13/386,028

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Nic Wetzler
Wayne State University
Fadi Estefanous