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Advancing Diesel Engines via Cylinder Deactivation

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posted on 10.06.2019 by Cody M Allen
The transportation sector continues to be a primary source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, contributing more than any other sector in the United States in 2017. Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks trail only passenger cars as the largest GHG contributor in this sector [1]. The intense operating requirements of these vehicles create a reliance on the diesel engine that is projected to last for many decades. Therefore, it is vital that the efficiency and environmental sustainability of diesel engines continue to be advanced.

Cylinder deactivation (CDA) is a promising technology to improve diesel engine fuel efficiency and aftertreatment thermal management for emissions reduction. This work presents original experimental results demonstrating fuel efficiency improvements of CDA implemented on a modern engine at idle operating conditions through testing of various CDA configurations. Idle calibration optimizations result in up to 28% fuel consumption reduction at steady-state unloaded idle operation and 0.7% fuel consumption reduction over HD-FTP drive cycles at equivalent emissions levels. The low-load thermal management performance of CDA is also investigated through creep and extended idle transient cycles, during which CDA is shown to reduce fuel consumption by up to 40% with similar thermal management performance and reduced NOx and soot emissions.

Variants of CDA implementation are explored through an experimental comparison of deactivation strategies. The effort described here compares charge trapping strategies through examination of in-cylinder pressures following deactivation because: (1) choice of trapping strategy dictates the in-cylinder pressure characteristics of the deactivated cylinders, and (2) deactivated cylinders can affect torque, oil consumption, and emissions upon reactivation. Results discussed here suggest no significant differences between the strategies. As an example, the in-cylinder pressures of both trapping strategies are shown to converge as quickly as 0.8 seconds after deactivation.

Finally, the NVH effects of CDA are characterized through studies of torsional vibration, linear vibration, and acoustics. CDA causes frequency content at reduced frequencies compared to conventional operation, which has effects on all aspects of NVH. This creates possible constraints on achievable fuel efficiency and thermal management performance by restricting CDA usage. An alternate form of CDA, dynamic cylinder activation (DCA), is explored as a possible option of avoiding undesirable frequency output while maintaining the desired engine performance.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Gregory Shaver

Additional Committee Member 2

Peter Meckl

Additional Committee Member 3

Steven Son

Additional Committee Member 4

Li Qiao