Simulation of internal combustion engine heat transfer using low-dimensional thermodynamic modelling often relies on quasi-steady heat transfer correlations. However, unsteady thermal boundary layer modelling could make a useful contribution because of the inherent unsteadiness of the internal combustion engine environment. Previous formulations of the unsteady energy equations for internal combustion engine thermal boundary layer modelling appear to imply that it is necessary to adopt the restrictive assumption that isentropic processes occur in the gas external to the thermal boundary layer. Such restrictions are not required and we have investigated if unsteady modelling can improve the simulation of crank-resolved heat transfer. A modest degree of success is reported for the present modelling which relies on a constant effective turbulent thermal conductivity. Improvement in the unsteady thermal boundary layer simulations is expected in future when the temporal and spatial variation in effective turbulent conductivity is correctly modelled.

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