Homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) is currently being pursued as a cleaner and more efficient alternative to conventional engine strategies. Control of the load and phasing of combustion is critical in the effort to ensure reliable operation of an HCCI engine over a wide operating range. This paper presents an approach for modeling the effect of a small pilot injection during the recompression process of an HCCI engine, and a controller that uses the timing of this pilot injection to control the phasing of combustion. The model is a nonlinear physical model that captures the effect of fuel quantity and intake and exhaust valve timings on work output and combustion phasing. It is seen that around the operating points considered, the effect of a pilot injection can be modeled as a change in the Arrhenius threshold, an analytical construct used to model the phasing of combustion as a function of the thermodynamic state of the reactant mixture. The relationship between injection timing and combustion phasing can be separated into a linear, analytical component and a nonlinear, empirical component. Two different control strategies based on this model are presented, both of which enabled steady operation at low load conditions and effectively track desired load-phasing trajectories. These strategies demonstrate the potential of split injection as a practical cycle-by-cycle control knob requiring only minimal valve motion that would be easily achievable on current production engines equipped with cam phasers.

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