For turbocharged diesel engine systems, emission reduction is the most significant challenge that manufacturers should overcome. In response to the emission reduction challenge most turbocharged diesel engine systems have adopted complex exhaust aftertreatment systems. Due to the current stringent emission regulation, exhaust aftertreatment system nowadays needs to discover new methods to increase its efficiency of pollution conversion.

Increasing the inlet temperature of aftertreatment systems can help reduce the light-off time. Whilst most methods to do this involve increases in fuel consumption (retarded injection, engine throttling), insulating the turbocharger turbine to reduce heat loss does not have this drawback.

This paper presents a simulation and experimental study the performance of a turbocharger with inner insulated turbine housing, compared with the standard turbocharger (same turbine wheel without inner insulation). Both turbochargers were tested on an engine gas stand test rig with a 2.2L prototype engine acting as an exhaust gas generator. In a steady state condition, the insulated turbocharger can achieve 5 to 14K higher turbine outlet temperature depending on the engine speed and load conditions.

Three types of transient tests were implemented to investigate turbocharger turbine heat transfer performance. The test plan was designed to the engine warm up, step load transient, WLTC cycle and simplified RDE cycle. In the engine warm up test result, the temperature drops between the turbine inlet and outlet was reduced by 4K with the insulated turbine housing. In the results of step load transient test, the turbine with insulated turbine housing was observed to get only 4K temperature benefit but with 2kRPM higher turbocharger speed under the same turbocharger inlet and outlet boundary conditions. In the WLTC cycle test result, turbocharger average speed was increased by 0.8kRPM due to the increased enthalpy of the turbine with insulation, the turbine outlet temperature has an average 1.7K improvement.

The experimental results were used to parameterise a simple, 1D, lumped capacitance model which could predict similar aerodynamic behaviour of the two turbines (turbine housing insulated and non-insulated). However, current model has less accuracy in highly transient process as the heat transfer coefficients are unchangeable in each process. The turbine outlet temperature got at most 10K error for the turbine with non-insulated housing and 13K error for the insulated one. The model was shown to over-estimate the benefits of the inner insulation for 1K in turbine outlet temperature.

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