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Engine and Fuels Research Consortium

This Consortium has been actively engaged in engine research since 1981. The current membership of companies includes US and European light-duty vehicle manufacturers and petroleum companies. Some of these members have been involved in the Consortium since its inception. The focus of research projects in recent years has been on spark-ignition engine combustion, emissions formation processes, and mixture preparation issues. More recently we are working on gasoline direct-injection engine processes, on engine knock, and alternative fuels.

Research themes and individual projects evolve through discussions with Consortium members at our regular four-monthly meetings. Relative emphasis on each theme area (e.g. port fuel injected spark-ignition engines compared with direct-injection engines, diesel-related projects) is reviewed periodically, and individual project proposals are presented, discussed, selected, and improved. Projects are either Masters degree theses (1-2 years), or Ph.D. degree theses (3-4 years), and occasionally shorter term activities.

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 ten members including Caterpillar, Chevron (Oronite and Global Lubricants), Cummins, Detroit Diesel,  Infineum, Komatsu,  NGK, Sud-Chemie, Valvoline/Ashland and the US DOE.  Ford and Lutek participated early in the Consortium.  Research covers three major areas:

(1) The detailed characterization of the evolution and properties of ash compounds in the exhaust aftertreatment system, their sensitivity to lubricant/additive formulations, catalysts, substrates, duty-cycles and effects on aftertreatment system performance and regeneration.  Carefully controlled experiments using a combinations of test benches with simulated exhaust and multicylinder diesel engines are performed.  Detailed computer simulations are conducted in parallel to describe and understand the phenomena.

(2) Modeling and diagnostics of lubricant composition changes in the engine due to contamination from fuel and combustion products, as well as degradation and oxidation.

(3) Modeling and validation of engine-oil interactions: additive and material surface design and mechanisms affecting wear, deposits, and friction.

The detailed computer simulations include the lubricant/additive species transport and transformation processes in the engine, degradation, oxidation and volatilization of oil and additive compounds, as well as deposition and deactivation mechanisms of ash on aftertreatment catalyst, washcoat and substrate systems.  Aftertreatment system performance on a heavy-duty diesel engine and oil composition measurements via sampling in the ring pack have been made.  In-situ diagnostics currently being developed include FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) oil analysis at the piston-liner interface via Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR) and other spectroscopic techniques. This research program builds upon, extends, and complements other studies conducted elsewhere or at sponsor organizations. The fundamental understanding so developed will be useful to participants in optimizing the combined lubricant/additive, engine, and aftertreatment system. Contact: Dr. Victor W. Wong -Tel: 617-253-5231, Fax: 617-253-9453, Email: for further information.

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. Our current focus is to complete models at all levels for power cylinder optimization and minimization of engine friction. Our models are divided into three levels, namely, fundamental elements, cycle models, and system models. While constantly improving and adding new physics to the models, many of our models have been effectively applied in our member companies for more than a decade. On the experimental side, our single cylinder engine with optical window and 2D LIF diagnostic system continuously provide us further insights to the oil transport in the piston ring pack as well as in the piston skirt region. We recently added a floating liner engine (FLE), which allows us to examine the effects of liner finish, piston rings, and piston skirt designs on friction, and to validate and improve our models.

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.