Review of the systems analysis of interactions between the thermal, lubricant, and combustion processes of diesel engines

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A review of technologies surrounding the thermal management system of the modern diesel engine with increased attention on fuel consumption is presented. A system-based approach has been adopted, looking at the interaction with other key systems. Previous innovation has aimed at reducing the power consumption of the cooling system or incorporating different cooling strategies and improving the engine warm-up rate for improved fuel consumption by higher operating temperatures. Electrical pumps can operate independently of the engine speed, and precision cooling and nucleate boiling have improved the heat transfer within the engine, reducing coolant flow requirements by 90 per cent. Improved warm-up rates have been demonstrated by using reduced thermal inertia or energy recovery systems either simulated on the test rig or through heat exchangers with exhaust gases. The resultant reduction in the fuel consumption is a result of various effects of the temperature on both the lubricating system and the combustion process. Despite difficulties in accurately measuring the engine friction, studies suggest that an increase in the engine temperature from 50C to 80C reduces the engine friction by 44 per cent because of 67 per cent lower oil viscosity. Simultaneous reduction in the emissions of nitogen oxides (NOx) and the fuel consumption of 13.5 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively have been achieved by including the engine thermal system in the calibration procedure. However, in-cylinder data needs to be studied to understand fully the mechanisms involved. Hotter engine temperatures reduce ignition delay, making combustion occur earlier in the cycle, which has a positive effect on the fuel consumption but a negative effect on the NO x emissions. Engine thermal management requires a system-based approach if the effects are to be fully understood but offers potential as an additional parameter in engine calibration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-704
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2010


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