In recent years, diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment has become a core combustion engine research subject because of both increasingly stringent emission regulations and incentives toward more fuel-efficient propulsion systems. Lean NOX traps (LNT) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalysts represent two viable pathways for the challenging part of exhaust gas aftertreatment of lean burn engines: NOX abatement. It has been found that the combination of LNT and SCR catalysts can yield synergistic effects. Switches in the operation mode of the engine, temporarily enriching the mixture, are required to regenerate the LNT catalyst and produce ammonia for the SCR. This paper describes the design of a catalyst flow reactor that allows studying multi-brick catalyst systems using rapid exhaust gas composition switches and its initial validation. The flow reactor was designed primarily to study the potential of combining different aftertreatment components. It can accommodate two sample bricks at a time in two tube furnaces, which allows for independent temperature control. Moreover, the flow reactor allows for very flexible control of the composition and flow rate of the synthetic exhaust, which is blended using mass flow controllers. By using a two-branch design, very fast switches between two exhaust gas streams, as seen during the regeneration process of a LNT catalyst, are possible. The flow reactor utilizes a variety of gas analyzers, including a 5-Hz FTIR spectrometer, an emissions bench for oxygen and THC, a hydrogen mass spectrometer, and gas chromatographs for HC speciation. An in-house control program allows for data recording, flow reactor control, and highly flexible automation. Additionally, the hardware and software incorporate features to ensure safe testing. The design also has provisions for engine exhaust sampling.

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