Modern combustion control strategies require accurate combustion control to meet the requirements for pollutant emissions reduction. Optimal combustion control can be achieved through a closed-loop control based on indicated quantities, such as engine torque and center of combustion, which can be directly calculated through a proper processing of in-cylinder pressure trace. However, on-board installation of in-cylinder pressure sensors is uncommon, mainly because it causes a significant increase in the cost of the whole engine management system.
In order to overcome the problems related to the on-board installation of cylinder pressure sensors, this work presents a remote combustion sensing methodology based on the simultaneous processing of two crankshaft speed signals. To maximize the signal-to-noise ratio, each speed measurement has been performed at opposed ends of the crankshaft, i.e. in correspondence of flywheel and distribution wheel. Since an engine speed sensor, usually faced to the flywheel, is already present on-board for other control purposes, the presented approach requires that an additional speed sensor is installed. Proper processing of the signals coming from the installed speed sensors allows extracting information about crankshaft's torsional behavior. Then, the calculated instantaneous crankshaft torsion can be used to real-time estimate both torque delivered by the engine and combustion phasing within the cycle.
The presented methodology has been developed and validated using a light-duty L4 Common-Rail Diesel engine mounted in a test cell at University of Bologna. However, the discussed approach is general, and can be applied to engines with a different number of cylinders, both CI and SI.