Researchers in the Powertrain Control Research Laboratory (PCRL) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed and built a single-cylinder engine transient test system which accurately replicates the dynamic operation of a multi-cylinder engine. Using hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation, the multi-cylinder engine’s transient (a) rotational dynamics, (b) intake gas dynamics, and (c) heat transfer dynamics are reproduced in real time using several patented subsystem designs. These subsystems produce the dynamic boundary conditions that would be present for a given cylinder within a multi-cylinder engine, based on either real-time model execution or predetermined command trajectories (e.g. measured data). In addition to replicating the effects of the virtual cylinders, the test system facilitates extension of the single-cylinder engine capabilities beyond typical steady-state regime limitations. The primary goals of this project are to retain the attributes of the single-cylinder engine that are most beneficial while overcoming the problems which cause the single-cylinder engine to operate differently than a multi-cylinder engine. This system represents a very unique test bed for controlling and understanding the influences of changes in the engine design and control, solves several of the problems associated with the operation of a single-cylinder engine, and allows rapid transient testing with slew rates in excess of 10,000 rpm/s. A virtual powertrain and vehicle model can be incorporated into this system so that standardized vehicle emission testing can be conducted with this single-cylinder engine system (e.g., FTP and other transient drive cycle tests). This paper reports the research findings of the performance effects achieved by including the multi-cylinder dynamic interactions during HIL simulation using only single-cylinder engine hardware. The target engine used for this study is the Ford 3.0 L V-6 SI engine, and both the multi- and single-cylinder engines are resident in the PCRL. By directly comparing the operation of this virtual multi-cylinder transient test system with its actual multi-cylinder engine counterpart, the influences of the included dynamics are documented. Evaluations include comparative data from rotational dynamics and intake gas dynamics, as well as the ability to control heat transfer dynamics and conduct exhaust emission testing.

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