Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dempsey, Adam B.

Second Advisor

Allen, Casey M.

Third Advisor

Roy, Somesh P.


Increasingly stringent emissions regulations has threatened the existence of the internal combustion (IC) engine. In some transportation sectors, non-IC engine powertrains have the potential to be a logical solution. However, in the heavy-duty sector, the IC engine is predicted to remain the dominant propulsion method for the foreseeable future. With ever-increasing demand for heavy-duty power generation platforms, the primary focus for the development of the future heavy-duty IC engine needs to be on increasing engine efficiency and the adoption of lowlife-cycle carbon, clean burning fuels, e.g. methanol. The fuel ignition properties of these fuels, e.g. high octane, cause difficulties when considering them as a direct replacement for fuels in heavy-duty engines, thus this study focuses on the development of combustion research tools to investigate the potential of alcohol fuels in a variety of combustion strategies for heavy-duty engine applications. Experimental and numerical IC engine research platforms were developed – namely a heavy-duty single-cylinder engine test cell and a zero-dimensional single zone thermodynamic engine cycle simulator, respectively. The single-cylinder engine test cell was developed from a fully operation Caterpillar C9.3B heavy-duty engine. Deactivation of five of the six cylinders on the engine was performed to create the operational single-cylinder test engine. Air and fluid subsystems were developed for research grade measurement and control. Subsystem components were sized to be capable of a wide range of operational parameters and engine conditions, creating an ultimately flexible test cell capable of various conventional and advanced combustion modes. Low and high-speed data acquisition and control schemes were developed in LabVIEW. The development of the single zone, thermodynamic cycle simulation model was evaluated by performing an analysis of optimum thermodynamic efficiency trends through a comparison of a globally lean, high compression ratio engine platform and a stoichiometric, low compression ratio engine platform. Both engines were investigated at a gross indicated load of 18 bar and fueled with methanol. Parametric studies of burn duration, combustion timing, and exhaust gas recirculation were performed to develop insights to optimum thermodynamic efficiency trends from strategy to strategy.

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Engineering Commons