Wednesday, March 19, 2014

At the flowbench

The chambers, seats and finally the ports are finished.  What follows are some photos and video that may be interesting to some of you.

Here is a head set up to measure airflow through the intake port.

 For my purposes there is no need to have the entire intake tract set up with the head, but we do need to make sure that the air enters the intake port in a smooth stream that is repeatable from head to head.  Some guys will use a clay bellmouth on the intake stub but I doubt that I could sculpt a perfectly matching bellmouth on two heads so I simply machined one from nylon.  It snaps right on and I put a dab of clay on either side to make sure that it stays put.

Here are some photos of airflow visualization using smoke.  The way the bellmouth turns the airflow can be plainly seen.

I have been experimenting with wet flow visualization, in the following videos you can see that at valve lifts of .100", .200" and .300" the new combustion chamber contours act as very effective half-diffusers and keep the airflow attached to the head around the entire periphery of the valve head while also enhancing intake flow swirl.  As we know, a properly designed diffuser converts the flow's velocity back into pressure with minimal flow loss.  The flow in the original configuration was mostly straight across the top side of the valve in two very strong streams that tended to travel straight across the chamber with no swirl.  I am much more concerned with flow velocity at the lifts between closed and full-open than I am about flow numbers at full-lift.  Think about this, with a cam that has a symmetrical profile, the valve will see every stage of lift twice (once on opening and once on closing) while it sees full-lift at one point and then only for an instant.  This is why it is not well to get hung up on obtaining maximum flow numbers at full-lift.  Remember, the flowbench is an abstraction, as no piston-engine sees prolonged steady-state airflow at full-lift.  The flowbench is best employed as a comparative tool.   The fluid that is used for visualization is much heavier than gasoline and so tends puddle a bit but the airflow visualization is accurate and there is no explosion hazard (life is stressful enough).

There is one other item to take care of before reassembly and dyno-tuning, that is the crankcase breather system.  The engine's crankcase volume is fairly small and that, combined with the fact that it fluctuates by an amount equal to the engine's displacement twice every revolution, tends to push a considerable amount of oil out of the crankcase breather.  While it is common knowledge that subjecting the crankcase to a vacuum is beneficial, the way BMW chose causes more grief than it's worth.  Venting the crankcase to the airbox and using intake vacuum to evacuate the crankcase results in the engine ingesting a not insignificant amount of oil.  As we all know, ANY oil ingestion is highly detrimental as it dilutes the incoming fuel-air mixture, helps set the stage for detonation and is the primary cause of combustion chamber coking that airheads are famous for.  Pull the intake elbows from any large-bore airhead and you will find this.
That is engine oil dripping from the crankcase breather pipe (which itself is quite an obstruction to airflow).  I am not an advocate of removing the airbox (since the intake length is beneficial to this engine), but this crankcase breather system (along with the pulse-air exhaust injection system) is going to go.  I will use a catch-tank plumbed in series with an electric vacuum pump.  This should keep a negative pressure(vacuum) in the crankcase regardless of the piston position, give the oil control rings an easier life and maybe free up some power, but most of all, NO MORE OIL IN THE COMBUSTION CHAMBERS.