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Miller cycle combustion strategy for downsized gasoline engines

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posted on 29.03.2018 by Tengku N. Akma
In response to the global concerns towards oil scarcity and climate change, the automotive industry is currently focusing on improving fuel economy and reducing exhaust emissions. Modern downsized gasoline engines that come with a package that includes a boosting system, variable valve train and direct fuel injection system is effective for fuel economy improvement and emission reduction. However, the knocking issue becomes severe at high load operations as a result of the high intake boosting pressure. In regard to the part load conditions, the gas exchange process requires extra work to draw in air into the cylinder due to a lower amount of pressure in the intake manifold caused by the restriction of the throttle plate. The Miller cycle is regarded as a potential strategy of knock control for downsized gasoline engines. Extensive works have sought to examine the performance improvement via the Miller cycle, yet only limited research has been conducted on the manner in which it can influence knock suppression. The focus of this thesis is to investigate early and late intake valve closing timings in terms of how they affect the compression process, the ability to suppress engine knock and meet the power output required at high loads for spark-ignited gasoline engines. Apart from that, this research also demonstrates the Miller cycle potential by utilising fully variable valve timing in controlling the load at the part load condition without using a throttle. The early intake valve closing with different valve lifts was tested in order to investigate the impact during the gas exchange process, particularly the pumping losses and the potential to improve fuel economy. This study includes both experimental and simulation studies. A Lotus single-cylinder research engine referred to as SCORE was mainly used for the experimental component of the study. The simulation work was conducted using a one-dimensional spark ignition engine model built in the Ricardo WAVE software for naturally-aspirated and downsized engines. The engine model values are validated against the experimental values from the Lotus SCORE and Lotus SABRE engines. The combustion model with a reduced kinetics mechanism was validated using a Rover K-series engine. A broad matrix of the engine operations has been investigated combining a variety of engine speeds and engine loads. The Miller cycle effects on knock suppression in a downsized engine environment have been investigated in three parts, namely the Miller cycle at different speed-load, knock suppression with extreme Miller cycle, and knock analysis with combustion kinetics. Through the works, the Miller cycle has demonstrated its capability to suppress engine knocking in a more efficient manner as opposed to the standard engine operation. This is contributed by the fact that early and late intake valve closings could affect the end gas condition at the end of the compression stroke, thus making it possible to suppress the engine knocking. The experimental study for controlling load without using throttle under the naturally-aspirated condition found that the Miller cycle with an early intake calve closing strategy able to improve fuel consumption by reducing pumping losses. The downsized engine condition, which has been evaluated via modelling work, also showed an improved performance trend using the unthrottled Miller cycle strategy. The open cycle and close cycle efficiencies have improved through the Miller cycle implementation. The contribution of this work is made in order to establish the comparison of the Miller cycle strategy in suppressing knocking between the early intake valve closing and late intake valve closing under a boosted environment. For the part load condition of the downsized engine, the research contributes to the existing body of knowledge by comparing the throttle-less Miller cycle and the standard throttled operation as a load control strategy.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


© Tengku Nordayana Akma

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.




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