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Seoul 2000 FISITA World Automotive Congress June 12-15, 2000, Seoul, Korea


Mechanical Efficiency of Small Engines for Passenger Cars

Branko Remek1), Otakar Pilc2)
1) Ing. Branko Remek, CSc., VUT (Czech Technical University in Prague), Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Dept. of Automotive and Aerospace Engineering, Technick 4, CZ-166 07 Praha 6, Czech Republic, E-mail:, Phone: ++ 420 2 2039 5138 2) Ing. Otakar Pilc, KODA Auto, a.s., R&D Center, Vclava Klementa 869, CZ-293 60 Mlad Boleslav, Czech Republic, E-mail:, Phone: ++ 420 326 815 450 The article deals with the evaluation of mechanical efficiency and with calculation and measurement of overall mechanical losses at spark ignition four-stroke petrol engines with power output 40 - 50 kW for small passenger cars. The principal distribution of overall mechanical losses (divided into the main partial losses, like frictional losses, cylinder charge exchange losses or accessories input power losses) is focused. In the case of the engines for small cars there are two actual topics. The first one is the mechanical loss in the valve gear train, especially by using hydraulic tappets and the second one is being all losses caused by engine driven accessories, like compressor for air condition, hydraulic pump for power-steering, electrical AC generator, ABS break system, luboil pump, water pump etc. The results show that there is not big and significant difference in mechanical losses due to the principal design of the valve gear train, like OHV and OHC but using roller tappet the losses of the valve gear train are about one half lower. The second problem of power input of accessories is very important especially at idling a cool engine. There is a strong need to find other ways for the drive of accessories, like power-by-wire. Keywords: accessory, efficiency, engine, losses

Steady growing demands on the minimalisation of the driver effort and fatigue during car driving as well on the driving comfort for all passengers increase the number and power input of engine geared accessories, dominating the useful power of the car engine. This problem is mostly significant by the engines of smaller stroke volume for the lower class passenger cars. Mechanical losses of an internal combustion engine (ICE) for a car are all losses reducing the indicated power in the cylinders to the effective power on the engine output shaft. The indicated power is proportional to the positive internal work done by gas pressure inside a cylinder and to the engine speed. The negative work during four-stroke gas exchange may be added to the other mechanical losses. As the effective engine power is Pe = Pi - Pl The right way to get it up is not only to increase the indicated power Pi but also to reduce strong the lost power Pl.

In the following, the parts of the total mechanical losses, which could be influenced in the phase of engine basic design are focused. The coefficient of mechanical efficiency is defined as follows: = Pe / Pi = Pe / (Pe+ Pl) Hence, it is possible to calculate the mechanical efficiency from results of measurement of engine parameters, without pressure indication, by braking and by motoring it on the test bed using electrical AC or DC dynamometers.


From the practical purposes of measurement we can speak about the lost torque Ml and its partial principal parts, see fig.1, as: Ml = Mf + Mh + Mvg + Mag Where the typical partial parts are: Mf - Frictional losses are common mechanical frictional losses and ventilation (aerodynamic drug) losses of the crank mechanism.

(In practice: Together with power input of a pump for engine lubrication.) Mh - Hydraulic losses are all hydraulic losses in input and output systems during cylinder charge gas exchange period. Mvg - Valve gear losses are all losses in the valve gear train. Mag - Gear losses of accessories are losses for the drive of all used engine and car accessories. Note: If there is no possibility to separate during measurement the hydraulic losses Mh and the valve gear train losses Mvg, we speak about their sum designated as gas exchange losses Mge. Lost torque is used during experimental measurements but in the ICE theory we prefer to use the lost mean pressure as: pl = 4..Ml / Ve Where Ve is the engine stroke volume.

useful for definition enabling calculation or measurement of partial losses. The direct method of pressure indication inside all cylinders of an investigated engine is rather clumsy, time consuming and it needs very precise and sometimes disputable top-dead-center position correction. Besides, it does not offer any possibility to distinguish between different sources of mechanical losses excluding gas exchange. This method is used mostly as a checking method only. Especially it is useful due to the fact that gas exchange loss differs at motoring and ignited engine performance. The simple method of engine motoring by an electrical AC or DC dynamometer, under strictly defined conditions, especially for the luboil and cooling water temperatures. This method is also useful for measurement of partial losses share, supplemented by stepwise decoupling of sources of mechanical losses and using thermodynamic modeling to correct the results for indicated work during motored cycle. Without it, the method of engine motoring would give qualitatively comparable results only. But the results of this both methods are comparable and the motoring method in the case of measurement of mechanical losses for engine development is the most practical one. As a rough check could the method of fuel flow rate extrapolated to zero load be used. This method gives reliable integral results especially at turbocharded engines, it is simple and robust but the details on load dependence of losses are not provided by it (not speaking about loss decoupling).


Motoring with stabilized engine temperatures is started with all engine accessories. The outer accessories, like cooling fan, AC generator, water pump etc., stepwise disconnected from the engine gear while measuring changes in motoring torque. The cylinder charge exchange losses and the loads of crank and the valve gears by cylinder pressures were cut out by closing inlet and outlet ports flanges just at the cylinder head. The real thermodynamic loss of diabatic compression-expansion at mean atmospheric pressure was the only indicated loss of engine cycle after the cylinder pressure had been stabilized due to piston ring leakage. The pure mechanical loss of an engine gear was measured then comparing torque with closed flange orifices and that using a camshaft with lift-free (disc-like) "cams" only. After camshaft drive had been disconnected, the loss of crank gear with a small pressure load at pistons and rings and a luboil pump torque are the rest losses. This procedure may be amended by pressure indication, pressure prediction using simulation methods and driving torque or power measurements at a separated luboil pump delivering oil pressure used during engine tests. After long term experience of using the motoring method at car, van and truck engines it is possible to summarize the experimental results of the mechanical losses distribution by top engine speeds as follows:


For the calculation of total mechanical losses we can use a lot of various methods, but only some of them are

Frictional losses Gas exchange losses Accessories gear losses

- 55 % - 35 % - 10 %

Fig.2 compares the valve gear losses of the 1.3 dm3 OHV engine with hydraulic elements (HE). The meaning of the various symbols is as follows: 0 - without hydraulic elements in the valve gear train. 1, 2, 3 - with hydraulic elements placed in different positions of a valve gear train. From the figure it is clear that the use of a hydraulic element in a valve gear train rises losses from the average value of pvg = 0,03 - 0,04 MPa up to 0,07 MPa (app. + 100 %), at engine speeds from 1000 rpm to 5000 rpm. Fig.3 shows the experimental results at various prototypes of the 1.4 dm3 engine without hydraulic elements in the valve gear train and compares values of frictional losses, gas exchange losses (valve gear and hydraulic losses together) and accessory gear losses. The most significant influence of the valve gear losses is in idling and at low engine speeds. Fig.4 shows the results of measurement of partial losses of the 1.0 dm3 car engine with a minimum of engine geared accessories like water pump and not loaded AC generator. As this part of mechanical losses is only of about 10 % it is clear that the connection of other current demanded accessories as air condition, power steering, etc., will increase this part many times. Fig.5 shows the influence of the accessory belt tension on the total mechanical losses of an engine 1.0 dm3 volume capacity. The difference between the torque curve without belt and others is the power input of a water pump and not loaded AC generator. It is about 3,5 Nm by 5500 rpm, so good 2 kW !

The frictional losses and the hydraulic losses that are about 2/3 of cylinder charge exchange losses are proportional to the engine speed. The valve gear losses and the accessories gear losses are independent on engine speed. Hence, loss distribution during idling is completely different, for example as follows: Frictional losses Gas exchange losses Accessories gear losses - 40 % - 60 % - 20 %

Because frictional losses and gas exchange ones are proportional to the engine stroke volume and the accessory gear losses are almost fixed, it is clear that by small car engines the influence of accessory gear train losses is growing up significantly. The power input of the most of such accessories (hydraulic pump for power steering, ABS aggregate, AC generator, compressor for air conditioning or vacuum pump for brake power assistance) depends not too much on car size but due to the demands of driving comfort for a driver and all passengers.


If we speak in this article about small car engines we mean spark ignition, four stroke petrol water cooled engines of stroke volume ranging from 1.0 dm3 up to 1.4 dm3, that means from 0.25 to 0.35 dm3 per cylinder, and with power output 40 - 50 kW. The detailed analysis of losses in the valve gear train and in the accessories gear train was made on a significant number of prototype and series engines. In the case of valve gear train the attention was focused on friction couples with a force contact, like between a cam and a tappet, an arm or a valve. The tappet was of a flat type, roller type or hydraulic type (for valve gear clearance reduction). If a flat type tappet is of a basic type, roller tappet type brings loss reduction about approximately to one half. The use of a hydraulic tappet, due to steady force contact in a friction couple, duplicates friction losses of the valve gear train. The steady growth of hydraulic tappet use in car engines is due to the reduction of engine noise level and of the reduction of the maintenance service work operations. Following figures show typical examples of partial mechanical losses of small passenger car engines.

There is a very strong need to design new engines for small passenger cars from the point of view of mechanical losses and mechanical efficiency. By the early design phase of the valve gear train an appropriate of friction couple should be chosen according to cam and tappet design. A roller tappet with anti-friction bearing is recommended especially in the case of hydraulic elements in the valve gear train. In the case of engine or car accessories there is a strong need to reduce it and to grow up the number of electrically powered accessory using the electromotors as well as the electromagnetic or other types of clutches, connecting the accessory to the engine. The future is in the power-by-wire accessories and so engine directly driven accessories would be lubrication oil pump and powerful water-cooled AC generator only.

The Czech Republic Ministry of Education has supported this research by a strategic development project "Concurrent Engineering" # J04:212200008.

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