Besides valve timings and opening duration control, several benefits could be achieved in engine operation if the valve actuation system could control the maximum valve displacement during a particular engine condition. Typically, in most electro-hydraulic variable valve actuation systems (VVA), the maximum valve lift along with valve opening/closing events are adjusted simultaneously by precise control of the spool travel in servo-valves. However, at high engine speeds, concurrent control of timings and peak valve lift becomes difficult and sometimes even impossible due to servo-valve response time limitations. In this paper, a new lift control technique is proposed using a control-valve located in the hydraulic supply line. Using this technique, it is possible to precisely control the valve lift even at high engine speeds. With this mechanism, the control-valve flow area could be adjusted using a low-speed actuator such as an electric motor. In contrast to conventional approaches, where maximum lift is repeatedly controlled within each cycle, valve lift in this technique can be adjusted after few engine cycles, thereby reducing control signal fluctuations and also eliminating the need for ultra-high-speed actuators. The proposed hydraulic VVA system is mathematically modeled, and a non-linear sliding mode controller is designed based on the derived equations. Finally, the performance of the proposed lift control technique is verified under different operating conditions.

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