The combustion mode transition between spark ignition (SI) and homogeneously charged compression ignition (HCCI) combustions of an internal combustion (IC) engine is challenging due to the distinct engine operational parameters over these two combustion modes and the cycle-to-cycle residue gas dynamics of the HCCI combustion. The control problem becomes even more complicated when multi-cylinder operation is involved. This paper studies the combustion mode transition problem of a multi-cylinder IC engine with dual-stage valve lifts and electrical variable valve timing systems. A control oriented engine model was used to develop a multistep mode transition control strategy via iterative learning for combustion mode transition between SI to HCCI with minimal engine torque fluctuations. The hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulations demonstrated the effectiveness of the developed control strategy for the combustion mode transition under both constant load and transient engine operational conditions.

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