With the increasing recognition that variable valve actuation (VVA) in its various forms is a powerful tool for optimizing the performance of internal combustion engines, more and more production systems are being designed and implemented throughout the industry. However, as these control systems become more capable of altering lift, timing, duration, and even the number of valve events, the complexity of designing algorithms and calibrating them becomes enormous. In addition, without prior knowledge of an engine’s response to these algorithms, designing a cost-effective mechanism which provides adequate but not over-reaching capability is difficult.

Ricardo has developed methodology for timestep coupled simulations which enables the use of one-dimensional (1-D) gas dynamics simulation of engine performance (WAVE™) coupled to a simulation of the valve actuation mechanism constructed in MATLAB® and AMESim®. This arrangement allows valve motion input to the 1-D code to be controlled either manually or by a VVA controller simulation, allowing such engine parameters as torque, fuel consumption, NVH, and EGR rates to be monitored as a function of valve timing strategy.

This method allows the examination of such engine development concerns as tolerances, valve velocities and accelerations, and interactions with other engine controls to be studied without the costs, leadtimes, or hardware reliability problems that are associated with prototyping a VVA system. In addition, the interfacing of the valve control/engine performance simulation combination with the Design of Experiments optimization software iSIGHT allows the control system space to be explored automatically, without the brute force numerical search required to examine all permutations of the control strategies. The output of this procedure is an array of requirements which can be quickly translated into a specification document which will guide hardware and controls design efforts.

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