Experimental investigation was carried out in order to optimize the performance of a small high speed direct injection diesel engine running on Jatropha methyl ester (JME), using Taguchi methods. In the investigation three controlled parameters — injection timing, load and speed — were varied at three levels and their effect on the engine output responses — engine noise, combustion noise, smoke, NOx, HC emissions and brake specific fuel consumption were studied. Taguchi method was found to be efficient for investigating the effect of speed, load and injection timing on the engine noise, emissions and fuel economy. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to find out the percentage contributions of the controlled parameters on the engine output responses. To optimize the performance, optimum combinations of the controlled parameters were found using the signal to noise (S/N) ratio. The engine output responses were predicted at those combinations. Further, confirmation runs were carried out which showed good agreement with the predicted engine output responses.

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