Newly developed Diesel engine control strategies are mainly aimed at pollutant emissions reduction, due to the increasing request for engine-out emissions and fuel consumption reduction. In order to reduce engine-out emissions, the development of closed-loop combustion control algorithms has become crucial. Modern closed-loop combustion control strategies are characterized by two main aspects: the use of high EGR rates (the goal being to obtain highly premixed combustions) and the control of the center of combustion. In order to achieve the target center of combustion, conventional combustion control algorithms correct the measured value by varying Main injection timing.

It is possible to obtain a further reduction in pollutant emissions through a proper variation of the injection parameters. Modern Diesel engine injection systems allow designing injection patterns with many degrees of freedom, due to the large number of tuneable injection parameters (such as start and duration of each injection). Each injection parameter’s variation causes variations in the whole combustion process and, consequently, in pollutant emissions production. Injection parameters variations have a strong influence on other quantities that are related to combustion process effectiveness, such as noise radiated by the engine. This work presents a methodology that allows real-time evaluating combustion noise on-board a vehicle. The radiated noise can be evaluated through a proper in-cylinder pressure signal processing. Even though in-cylinder pressure sensor on-board installation is still uncommon, it is believed that in-cylinder pressure measurements will be regularly available on-board thanks to the newly developed piezo-resistive sensors.

In order to set-up the methodology, several experimental tests have been performed on a 1.3 liter Diesel engine mounted in a test cell. The engine was run, in each operating condition, both activating and deactivating pre-injections, since pre-injections omission usually produces a decrease in pollutant emissions production (especially in particulate matter) and a simultaneous increase in engine noise. The investigation of the correlation between combustion process and engine noise can be used to set up a closed-loop algorithm for optimal combustion control based on engine noise prediction.

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