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A Fully Flexible Valve Actuation System for Internal Combustion Engines

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2 Author(s)
Junfeng Zhao ; University British of Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, Canada ; Rudolf J. Seethaler

The automotive industry has been under continued pressure to improve fuel efficiency because of air pollution, global warming, and rising gasoline prices. One technology to address this need is electronic valve timing. It promises to achieve fuel savings of 10%-15% by reducing pumping losses, introducing cylinder deactivation, and enabling new combustion strategies, like homogeneous charge compression ignition. To date, valve actuators for this application primarily rely on resonant spring arrangements to achieve the necessary dynamics. This leads to a fixed amplitude of the valve trajectory and only allows for variable valve timing. In this paper, a fully flexible valve actuation system for intake valves is introduced that provides variable lift in addition to variable timing, without reducing valve dynamics or energy efficiency. Optimization procedures for the mechanical system, the servo motor selection, and the valve trajectory are presented. The combined effect of these optimizations leads to valve accelerations that are an order of magnitude higher than conventional electric servo systems. Simulations and an experimental test bed are used to validate the system performance. A comparison with other electronic valve actuation systems confirms the excellent performance of this approach.

Published in:

IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 2 )