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

View a complete listing of all Sloan Automotive publications (PDF).

Engine and Fuels Research Consortium

This Consortium has been actively engaged in engine research since 1981. In recent years, the focus of research projects is on spark-ignition engine combustion, emissions formation processes, and mixture preparation issues. Current and ongoing research focus on:

Oil and Engine-Lubricant-Aftertreatment Research Consortium

Consortium members may login and view additional content here. Guests may sample some of the additional content here. Dr. Victor W. Wong will assist you with user names and passwords.

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 eight members including Caterpillar, Chevron (Oronite and Global Lubricants), Cummins, Infineum, Komatsu, MTU, Rypos, and the US DOE. Ford and Lutek participated early in the Consortium. Detroit Diesel,Sud-Chemie, and Valvoline/Ashland are also former participants. 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.