Development of Algorithms for the Control of Camless Valvetrains of a
Single-Cylinder, Four-Valve Engine, 03-9488

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Principal Investigator
Glenn R. Wendel

Inclusive Dates:  07/01/04 – Current

Background - Forthcoming emission legislation and the demands for improved vehicle performance and fuel economy are pushing designers to increase the technology content of modern engines and to investigate novel engine-operating modes. A key factor in this development is to be able to arbitrarily adjust timing, lift, and phasing of intake and exhaust valves so that the gas exchange process can be managed. Independent and fully flexible control of all engine valves is possible with "camless" valve actuation. Camless actuation is an enabling technology that offers a variety of improvements to include increase in fuel economy, reduction in exhaust emissions, complete engine redesign with improved packaging, synergy with hybrid vehicles, power increase, and greater flexibility in terms of torque shaping. The Institute has the opportunity to collaborate with a major automotive supplier in developing a unique regenerative hydraulic camless valvetrain that has low energy consumption and represents a significant improvement in the state-of-the-art.

Approach - The automotive supplier has developed and demonstrated its camless valvetrain hardware in open-loop bench testing; however, an advanced control system is a recognized need for reliable, accurate, and predictable operation before it can be applied to a development engine. This project would entail detailed modeling and simulation of the camless valvetrain, the development of control algorithms using the models, fabrication of a set of test hardware with appropriate sensors, and the performance of laboratory tests on a simulated engine setup to fine tune the algorithms. The technical challenge is to develop a control system and sophisticated algorithm that will ensure accurate timing of the valve opening/closing events as well as accurate valve lift and soft controlled valve seating. This algorithm must compensate for manufacturing tolerances, temperatures, and quality of hydraulic fluid.

Accomplishments - An initial study on the selection of appropriate control methodologies had begun, but further activities have been postponed until a formal agreement with the automotive supplier has been completed.

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