Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

James E. Smith.


New ignition sources are needed to operate the next generation of lean high efficiency internal combustion engines. A significant environmental and economic benefit could be obtained from these lean engines. Toward this goal, the quarter wave coaxial cavity resonator, QWCCR, igniter was examined. A detailed theoretical analysis of the resonator was performed relating geometric and material parameters to performance characteristics, such as resonator quality factor and developed tip electric field. The analysis provided for the construction and evaluation of a resonator for ignition testing.;The evaluation consisted of ignition tests with liquefied-petroleum-gas (LPG) air mixtures of varying composition. The combustion of these mixtures was contained in a closed steel vessel with a precombustion pressure near one atmosphere. The resonator igniter was fired in this vessel with a nominal 150 W microwave pulse of varying duration, to determine ignition energy limits for various mixtures. The mixture compositions were determined by partial pressure measurement and the ideal gas law. Successful ignition was determined through observation of the combustion through a view port. The pulse and reflected microwave power were captured in real time with a high-speed digital storage oscilloscope. Ignition energies and power levels were calculated from these measurements. As a comparison, these ignition experiments were also carried out with a standard non-resistive spark plug, where gap voltage and current were captured for energy calculations.;The results show that easily ignitable mixtures around stoichiometric and slightly rich compositions are ignitable with the QWCCR using the similar kinds of energies as the conventional spark plug in the low milli-Joule range. Energies for very lean mixtures could not be determined reliably for the QWCCR for this prototype test, but could be lower than that for a conventional spark. Given the capability of high power, high energy delivery, and opportunity for optimization, the QWCCR has the potential to deliver more energy per unit time than a conventional spark plug and thus should be considered be as a lean ignition source.