Common rail direct fuel injection is a modern variant of direct fuel injection system for petrol and diesel engines. On diesel engines, it features a high-pressure (over 1,000 baror 100 MPa or 15,000 psi) fuel rail feeding individual solenoid valves, as opposed to low-pressure fuel pump feeding unit injectors (or pump nozzles). Third-generation common rail diesels now feature piezoelectric injectors for increased precision, with fuel pressures up to 3,000 bar (300 MPa; 44,000 psi). In gasoline engines, it is used in gasoline direct injection engine technology
Solenoid or piezoelectric valves make possible fine electronic control over the fuel injection time and quantity, and the higher pressure that the common rail technology makes available provides better fuel atomisation. To lower engine noise, the engine’s electronic control unit can inject a small amount of diesel just before the main injection event (“pilot” injection), thus reducing its explosiveness and vibration, as well as optimising injection timing and quantity for variations in fuel
quality, cold starting and so on. Some advanced common rail fuel systems perform as many as five
injections per stroke. Common rail engines require a very short (< 10 seconds) to no heating-up time[ depending on ambient temperature, and produce lower engine noise and emissions than older
systemsDiesel engines have historically used various forms of fuel injection. Two common types
include the unit injection system and the distributor/inline pump systems (See diesel engine andunit
injector for more information). While these older systems provided accurate fuel quantity and
injection timing control, they were limited by several factors:
They were cam driven, and injection pressure was proportional to engine speed. This typically meant that the highest injection pressure could only be achieved at the highest engine speed and the maximum achievable injection pressure decreased as engine speed decreased. This relationship is true with all pumps, even those used on common rail systems. With unit or distributor systems, the injection pressure is tied to the instantaneous pressure of a single pumping event with no accumulator, and thus the relationship is more prominent and troublesome.
They were limited in the number and timing of injection events that could be commanded during a single combustion event. While multiple injection events are possible with these older systems, it is much more difficult and costly to achieve.
For the typical distributor/inline system, the start of injection occurred at a pre-determined pressure (often referred to as: pop pressure) and ended at a pre-determined pressure. This characteristic resulted from “dummy” injectors in the cylinder head which opened and closed at pressures determined by the spring preload applied to the plunger in the injector. Once the pressure in the injector reached a pre-determined level, the plunger would lift and injection would start.