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Research

  • Combustion and Intake/Exhaust Systems Diagnosis Based on Acoustic Emissions of a GDI TC Engine

    Year: 2016

    Author: Nicolò Cavina, Andrea Businaro, Nahuel Rojo, Matteo De Cesare, Luigi Paiano, Alberto Cerofolini

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    Due to increasingly stringent emission regulations and the need for more efficient powertrains, engine control systems that have been developed during the recent years have become more and more sophisticated. Obtaining accurate information about the combustion process and about all the subsystems that compose the engine can be considered key to reach the maximum overall performance. Low-cost in-cylinder pressure and turbo speed sensors are being developed, but they still present long-term reliability issues, and represent a considerable part of the entire engine management system cost. Sound emissions represent an extremely rich information source about the operating conditions of all the subsystems that comprise the entire engine. The paper shows how it is possible to extract fundamental information regarding the combustion process (such as knock and misfire), turbo speed, and air path fault at the same time, by performing an appropriate analysis of the engine acoustic emissions acquired from the very same microphone, which can thus be considered as an innovative, multifunction, and low-cost sensor for automotive applications.

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  • Analysis of Pre-ignition Combustions Triggered by Heavy Knocking Events in a Turbocharged GDI Engine

    Year: 2016

    Author: Nicolò Cavina, Nahuel Rojo, Andrea Businaro, Lorella Ceschini, Eleonora Balducci, Alberto Cerofolini

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    In this paper, a pre-ignition sequence with detrimental effects on the engine has been analysed and described, with the aim of identifying the main parameters involved in damaging the combustion chamber components. The experiment was carried out in a wider research context, focused on knock damage mechanisms in turbocharged GDI engines. The pre-ignition sequence was a consequence of a high knock condition, induced at high load at 4500 rpm. The abnormal thermal load due to knock caused overheating of the whole combustion chamber, until the spark plug electrodes became a “hot spot”, resulting in premature flame initiation in the following cycles, with a self-sustaining mechanism. Slight cylindrical differences, mainly in terms of volumetric efficiency, allowed comparisons and correlations between indicated parameters, pre-ignition sequence and damage. The main responsible in damaging the engine, in this case and for this engine, is the extremely high heat transferred to the walls in the pre-ignited cycles, characterized by higher mean temperatures. Heavy knock triggered the pre-ignited combustions but progressively reduced its intensity as the spontaneous ignition advance increased, thus having a secondary role in damaging directly the combustion chamber.

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  • Comparison of Knock Indexes Based on CFD Analysis

    Year: 2016

    Author: EnricoCorti, Claudio Forte, Giulio Cazzoli, Davide Moro, Stefania Falfarri, Vittorio Ravaglioli

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    Recent trends in gasoline engines, such as downsizing, downspeeding and the increase of the compression ratio make knocking combustions a serious limiting factor for engine performance.

    A detailed analysis of knocking events can help improving the engine performance and diagnostic strategies. An effective way is to use advanced 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation for the analysis and prediction of the combustion process. The effects of Cycle to Cycle Variation (CCV) on knocking combustions are taken into account, maintaining a RANS (Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes) CFD approach, while representing a complex running condition, where knock intensity changes from cycle to cycle. The focus of the numerical methodology is the statistical evaluation of the local air-to-fuel and turbulence distribution at the spark plugs and their correlation with the variability of the initial stages of combustion.

    CFD simulations have been used to reproduce knock effect on the cylinder pressure trace. For this purpose, the CFD model has been validated, proving its ability to predict the combustion evolution with respect to SA variations, from non-knocking up to heavy knocking conditions.

    The pressure traces simulated by the CFD model are then used to evaluate cylinder pressure-based knock indexes. Since the model is able to output other knock intensity tracers, such as the mass of fuel burned in knocking mode, or the local heat transferred to the piston, knock indexes based on the cylinder pressure trace can be related to parameters only available in a simulation environment, that are likely to be more representative of the actual knock intensity, with respect to the local pressure trace for the sensor position. The possibility of simulating hundredths of engine cycle allows using the methodology to compare the indexes quality (correlation with actual knock intensity) on a statistical base.

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  • Development of a Torsiometer for On-board Application

    Year: 2016

    Author: Vittorio Ravaglioli, Fabrizio Ponti, Enrico Corti, Alberto Cerofolini

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    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.

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  • Engine Acoustic Emission Used as a Control Input: Applications to Diesel Engines

    Year: 2016

    Author: Fabrizio Ponti, Vittorio Ravaglioli, Federico Stola, Matteo De Cesare

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    The need for strategies that allow managing combustion in an adaptive way has recently widely increased. Especially Diesel engines aimed for clean combustion require a precise control of the combustion outputs.Acoustic emission of internal combustion engines contains a lot of information related to engine behavior and working conditions. Mechanical noise and combustion noise are usually the main contributions to the noise produced by an engine. Combustion noise in particular can be used as an indicator of the combustion that is taking place inside the combustion chamber and therefore as a reference for the control strategy.This work discusses the correlations existing between in cylinder combustion and the acoustic emission radiated by the engine and presents a possible approach to use this signal in the engine management system for control purposes. The application was tested by running several experimental tests, both in steady state and transient conditions, on a Diesel engine mounted in a test cell. Tests have been run in order to first identify the correlation existing between the different injection/combustion patterns that can be operated on the engine and the corresponding acoustic emission. Once the correlation between combustion process and engine noise has been identified it can be used to set up a closed-loop algorithm for optimal combustion control based on engine noise prediction.

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