Research in the Sloan Automotive Lab is closely partnership between industry and government. There are three major research consortia which provide long term continue support in specific areas, and individual focused projects. The close partnership keeps the research activities relevant so that the work would have direct impact on transportation system technology and policy, and relates the students to the active participants of the industry.
Research Program Details
- Engine and Fuels Research Consortium
- Oil and Engine-Lubricant-Aftertreatment Research Consortium
- Lubrication in Internal Combustion Engines Consortium
- Other research programs
Engine and Fuels Research Consortium
Oil and Engine-Lubricant-Aftertreatment Research Consortium
The central theme of this Consortium is to optimize the engine, lubricants and additives for robust emission aftertreatment systems. This Consortium brings together synergistically participants from the lubricant, additive, engine, catalyst, emission-control industries and the government to address the complex interactions in the combined engine-oil-aftertreatment system. Currently, there are nine members including Caterpillar, Chevron (Oronite and Global Lubricants), Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Infineum, Rypos, Sud-Chemie, Valvoline/Ashland and the US DOE. Ford and Lutek participated early in the Consortium. Research covers three major areas:
Lubrication in Internal Combustion Engines Consortium
The goal of the consortium is to develop knowledge and analytical tools for the engine lubrications systems to help the product development of our industry members. Our approach is to combine the efforts from experiments, modeling, and close interaction with our industry members.
Other Research Projects
Due to project disclosure agreements, not all projects are listed here.
Low Temperature Combustion Engine Development
Bulk low temperature combustion without the presence of flame in engines could lead to high fuel conversion efficiency and low emissions. This project assesses the effect of charge stratification in alleviating the undesirable high pressure rise rate in such combustion system.
Lubrication Formulation to Improve Engine Efficiency
The lubricant requirement in terms of the properties of base oil, viscosity/friction modifiers, and detergent is different for different parts (e.g. valve-train and piston/liner) of the engine since the local operating environment differs significantly. This project first establishes the local requirements and formulates the best individual lubricant formulation according to each local requirement. Then a single optimum lubricant package is sought via a global trade off of the extent the package would address the local lubrication requirements.
Assessment of Knock Suppression via a Dual Fuel Strategy
Substantial gain in spark ignition engine fuel conversion efficiency could be obtained by increasing the engine load by turbo-charging. The strategy, however, is limited by engine knock. Alcohols can suppress knock both by cooling the charge because of its high latent heat of vaporization and because of its chemistry. Operating the engine with gasoline with supplemental alcohol fuel injection at high load is an effective means of suppressing knock.
Diesel Fuel Detergency
With the use of very high injection pressure in advanced diesel injection system, the nozzle holes are getting correspondingly smaller in diameter and thus more prone to deposit caused deterioration. Fuel detergent can alleviate the deposit formation problem by suppressing the formation process (keep clean), and by removing the deposit (clean up). The physical and chemical processes of the detergent action are studied in this project.
SI Engine Dilution Assessment
Significant amount of diluents such as recirculated exhaust gas and water vapor is often present in SI engine operation. A generalized correlation is sought to relate the engine behavior to the diluents to simplify the engine calibration process.
Wankel Engine Lubrication
The tribology of the apex and face seals in a Wankel rotary engine is challenging. The oil film behavior of a firing engine is visualized to study the oil film thickness and transport. The data are used for developing a comprehensive lubrication model for these seals.
Before a Transition to Hydrogen Transportation Research Project
This project is part of a sustainable mobility research initiative undertaken as part of MIT's Alliance for Global Sustainability (MIT/AGS) program. The Before-H2 research team is interested in near- to medium-term solutions that would curb petroleum and energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. Lead project participants are MIT and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) near Zurich, Switzerland. At MIT, the focus is on the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet over the next 20-30 years. The objective is to model and predict the potential impact of future alternative fuels and vehicle technology developments on fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and propulsion system, and examine policy measures that may influence the adoption of these technologies. Similar studies focused in Europe are in progress.
For more information, please visit the project's web site here.