I know that the question/title is a bit ambiguous, but I couldn't wrap it in a single sentence, so please let me elaborate. You can change the mixture of an engine for whatever reason. Because of multiple reasons, it's unwise to go either too lean or too rich. Going too lean will burn your valves and spark plugs, melt your head etc. Going too rich will wash away the oilfilm, cause oil consumption and contamination, soot in the exhaust, spark plug fouling etc. Not too mention a high fuel consumption.
But these are not actual limits, they're just reasons not to go that rich or lean. I'm curious how rich or lean you can go before the petrol jut won't ignite. I'm aware that this is depends(heavily) on the engine design, but let's assume we have the ideal engine optimised for either running as rich or as lean as possible.
I have read once that according to most tuners, 1.2 lambda (or 17.6 AFR) is about the leanest you can go before the engine will stall. Just above 1 would give the best economy, 0.88 has the most power, and 0.82 creates the most heat during warming up. But I haven't seen anyone really proving this and Google won't help me. So I'm wondering if any of you know more about it, or if you can back it up.
As background info: I have an aircraft engine here that i perform tests on. As part of that i need to measure the AFR with a Bosch LSU4.9 oxygen sensor. The engine is just a conventional 4Cyl, multiport injected, 16 valve boxer engine. Because of the application of the engine it's designed to run from 0.82 to 1.12 lambda, according to the specs.
I'm using an Innovate LM-2 controller, and a self designed controller to measure the mixture. The former uses a Bosch LSU4.2 sensor, the latter uses an LSU4.9 sensor. They both always give the same result. The weird thing is, the mixture goes all the way from 0.7 lambda at low RPM's to 1.6 at higher RPM's. I didn't hold that for possible, but since both sensors give the same results, it almost has to be true. A lean mixture could be caused by a leak in the exhaust drawing in oxygen, but then lambda 0.7 would never be reached. So i'm trying to figure out wether my sensors are giving garbage results, or the engine is really running at such ridiculous mixtures. The engine never stalls or runs bad though.