Engine manufacturers have a lot on their plate these days. They need to design engines for higher mileage, better performance, lower emissions and possibly multi fuel capability as well. Fuel itself needs to be designed to work toward those same goals. After you’ve tried all of those late night TV additives and gadgets, what do you do?
A lot of the major companies are asking that question and they came up with the same answer, Reaction Design, a company specializing in the combustion process with software design tools to study exactly what happens in the combustion chamber enabling engineers to figure out what the results are when they make changes in the engine itself or in the fuel used to run it. A software package, CHEMKIN, addresses issues like:
Internal combustion engine in-cylinder simulation Turbulence-kinetics interactions using partially stirred reactor approach Fuel additive or alternative fuel effects Auto-ignition and engine knock Flame-speed calculations Catalytic aftertreatment modeling
They’ve been working with companies and organizations that read like a who’s who in the field:
BMW AG, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, Cummins Engine Co., Delphi Corporation, General Electric, General Motors, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Institut Français du Pétrole, Lubrizol, Mazda, Nissan, Robert Bosch, Shell, Toyota, Volkswagen, US DOE, US EPA, and many others.
It should be evident the problems involved are a little beyond that infamous 200mpg carburetor the oil companies were always accused of hiding. But I have a lot of confidence in today’s engineers and I always like to see what advances come out of studies like these. As with computer engine controls enabling precise changes and adjustments never before possible, software like this gives engine and fuel designers the ability to see what was previously invisible. I like it.