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Ming Zheng

Ming Zheng

Mechanical, Automotive & Materials Engineering
University of Windsor

Chair Title

NSERC/Ford Industrial Research Chair in Clean Combustion Engine Innovations - Deterministic Ignition Control

Chair Program

Industrial Research Chairs Program


Senior Chairholder since 2017


In line with the worldwide efforts on clean and efficient combustion for automotive engines towards renewable and sustainable mobility, the proposed research program will target the following areas:

  1. Improving fuel efficiency for clean combustion gasoline engines;
  2. Achieving deterministic ignition control for lean and diluted engine combustion;
  3. Developing new ignition mechanisms with spatially distributed arcing and volume streamer striking;
  4. Improving low temperature combustion (LTC) in compression ignition with spark assistance.

The fuels suitable for Spark Ignition (SI) combustion, such as gasoline, ethanol, natural gas, etc., are highly volatile and resistant to auto-ignition. The mandate for CO2 reduction requires automotive engines to raise the fuel efficiency and power density significantly. Future engines must increase the intake boost and cylinder expansion accordingly. Such techniques intensify the imminence of combustion knocking and pre-ignition. To alleviate such concerns, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is commonly applied in conjunction with deferred events of fuel injection to late stages of cylinder compression. This creates an overall ultra-lean mixture, also via multi-event fuel injections, to raise the burning efficiency together with boost and cylinder compression. A lean and diluted mixture inevitably makes the conventional spark ignition more difficult in addition to higher flame velocity due to increased air motion.

The Chair will perform fundamental and applicable studies to solve the ignition challenges, focusing on efficient ignition techniques that modulate the power and distribute the sites of energy release of ignition, as innovated by the Chair’s group. In synergy with the group’s broader research, the new techniques will also be studied to assist the control of compression ignition under low temperature combustion, especially when using a highly premixed, lean and diluted mixture.

The research results will contribute to the development of highly fuel-efficient engines with ultra-clean exhaust emissions. This innovative research will generate highly efficient spark ignition systems and advance the regional green fuel economy through the progressive use of broader types of fuels. The development of these engines will aid Canada in meeting its emission targets and reducing its carbon footprint by drastically reducing exhaust emissions and providing empirical and analytical data to the oil and automotive industries. Ford will gain valuable technical knowledge on the advanced ignition systems to improve current Ford products. This research will directly increase Canadian research capacity in high-efficiency engine innovations in the Windsor auto region. Progress in these areas will enable Canada to utilize the current energy resources more efficiently and expand energy sources to renewable fuels, thus benefitting the Canadian automotive, agriculture and forest sectors.


  • Ford Motor Company of Canada

Contact Information

Mechanical, Automotive & Materials Engineering
University of Windsor