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Experiment #[4] Internal Combustion Engine Laboratory

MAE 650:431 Mechanical Engineering Laboratory

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey

Of all the labs to be performed, this presents the most potential hazard conditions. There are fuel vapors,
hot surfaces, high temperatures, and rotating machinery. It is essential that the lab procedure be followed
1. Eye and ear protection must be worn at all times during runs.
2. Be sure that the room exhaust system (located on the opposite end of the room than the door) is on before
starting the engine. If the carbon monoxide alarm goes off, shut down the engine, leave the area, and alert
the TA or laboratory technician.
3. Be careful, pipes and hoses get hot. KEEP C L EA R
4. Pour the fuel very slowly into the tank to avoid any spills.
5. Keep clear of any moving parts (chain, sprocket, shaft, etc.) and the area around hot exhaust pipes.
6. Be aware of location of the fire extinguisher, eyewash, and clean-up kits.

Do not allow the hydraulic oil temperature to exceed 150F.

Do not allow the cylinder head temperature to exceed 50OF.
Do not allow the RPM to exceed 3200 at any time.

The four-stroke internal combustion engine makes use of the theoretical Otto cycle. This is the most
commonly used thermodynamic cycle in engines for many industrial and automotive applications. The
objective of this lab is to run an engine test, and to learn how to use engine performance evaluation
parameters and procedures. With these parameters and procedures one can gain insight on the general
characteristics of the cycle as well as the performance of a particular engine.



From a thermodynamics text review the relevant chapter(s) on gas cycle analysis, specifically the Otto
cycle and its associated processes. Also it is imperative that you make use a reference text on Internal
Combustion Engines. Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals by John B. Heywood has been placed on
reserve in SERC.


Figure I shows a schematic diagram of the experimental setup, which consists of a small four-stroke 5.5
hp Honda GX 160 engine connected to a dynamometer. The d y n a m o m e t e r includes an oil pump, which
circulates hydraulic oil through a flow loop. The oil enters the pump at I atm. and is pressurized so it can flow
through a piping system that includes a flow control load valve. The load valve setting controls the outlet
pressure of the pump, and the pressure gauge shown in the figure measures the rise p across the pump.
The oil flow meter measures the oil volumetric flow rate. It is located downstream from the load valve, and
therefore works at nearly atmospheric pressure (see fig. 1). The heat exchanger, which is part of the o i l flow
loop, dissipates the work produced by the engine, (converted to heat) through frictional dissipation as the oil
flows through the piping system.

There are two temperature indicators: one measures the cylinder head temperature and the other the
hydraulic oil temperature. The engine cylinder head temperature should not exceed 500 "F at any time for
safety reasons. The oil temperature should be between 90 "F and 150 F to maintain the calibration of

the hydraulic flow meter.

Increasing the outlet pressure of the pump requires closing the load valve, and needs more power to
overcome the larger pressure drop through the valve.

For a fixed engine throttle setting, adjusting the load on the engine will alter the engine speed, and as
the load is increased or decreased, the engine speed will decrease or increase, respectively.

The operating range for the engine is between 2000 to 3200 rpm.
The power generated by the engine can be calculated by noting the pump outlet pressure and the
volumetric flow rate of the oil using the relation:
Power =p

(be careful the units used)

is the oil volumetric flow rate, and p is the pressure across the pump.

The pressure and flow rate are read from analog gauges, as is the engine speed. The fuel flow rate is
estimated using the scale shown in Figure 1 and a stopwatch. This engine uses standard unleaded



4.1 General
First, the needed checks described in the SAFETY section will have to be performed before starting.
For two throttle setting you will have to adjust the load to achieve 5 engine speeds in the range of 2000-3200
At each engine speed, you will have to record data on oil pressure, oil flow rate and the amount of fuel
consumed over a known time period. The oil and cylinder head temperatures will be monitored, primarily for
Since this is a potentially dangerous and short lab, the TA will be present during all operations. No
operations should be performed with the engine running unless the TA, or the instructor (Professor Pelegri)
or the lab technician (Bill Vasiliou) is present.

4.2. Filling the Fuel Tank

The Fuel tank should be full and ready to use at the time of the laboratory, should this not be the case, use
the marked funnel to pour fuel into the fuel container. Pour slowly to avoid splashes or spills. Close the cap
tightly and place the fuel container on the scale. Plug the fuel hose into the quick-connect end of the
container. Make sure the fuel valve is open, and visually inspect the fuel filter. Carefully untwist the container
cap about half a turn to allow the pressure to equilibrate. Drain out the air from the fuel hose by manually
pinching on it below the fuel level as many times as necessary.

4.3. Start-Up Procedure

1. Make sure the carbon monoxide sensor is working properly (green light is lit) and the outside exhaust fan
switch is on.

Check the motor oil level. Add oil if needed.

3. Check the hydraulic oil temperature. The normal operating temperature range is between 90F
-150F. (This is because the hydraulic oil needs to have the correct viscosity for the dynamometer and
engine to work correctly) If the temperature is below 90F, plug in the oil heater; if temperature is above
150 F, unplug heater and allow the oil to cool.


Set the choke to the "run" setting and the throttle to the closed position (pull all the way out).


Inspect the engine:




the sensor leads.

the chain for slack and so that it does not touch the guard.
for any loose bolts or screws.
for any spills.

Turn on the oil switch.

6. Make sure that the exhaust pipe valve for the engine is open (aligned position) and any unused engine
exhaust pipe valves are closed (perpendicular position).


Check the back of the dynamometer; look for any leaks in the pipes or hoses.


Open the dynamometer load valve. (turn it counterclockwise all the way).


Start the engine.

10. While engine is idling, close the load valve (turn clockwise) until the oil pressure is about 150 psi.
Then gradually open the throttle, while closing the load valve, until at the desired throttle setting (initially
fully open) the desired RPM (initially 2000) is reached.

4.4. Actual Procedure

1. With fully open throttle, engine speed at ~2000 rpm (80 rpm), and oil temperature near 90 F,
record the oil pressure and oil flow rate. Record the fuel weight at the beginning and end of a 30 second
period using a stopwatch. Also record the oil temperature and the cylinder head temperature (see the
example data gathering table).

With fully open throttle adjust the engine load until the engine runs at ~2300 rpm, and repeat the

data gathering process. Repeat the data gathering process for engine speeds of 2600, 2900, and 3200
3. Decrease the throttle setting to 3/4 throttle, and adjust the load so that the engine runs at ~2600
rpm. Repeat the data gathering process for this engine speed.
4. Decrease the throttle setting to 1/2 throttle, and adjust the load so that the engine runs at ~2600
rpm. Repeat the data gathering process for this engine speed as was done for the full throttle setting.
5. Repeat the data gathering procedure for 1/4 throttle and for engine speeds of 2000, 2300, 2600,
2900, and 3200 rpm. These are the same measurements as those taken with the full throttle setting.

4.5 Shut-Down Procedure

Shut off the engine after the last measurement, by turning off the red electric contact switch, located on the
engine casing. This switch also serves as an emergency stop and should always be easily reachable and clear
from any obstacles.

5.1 Items to include
For each of the 12 of load/rpm/throttle settings calculate:

The brake power [HP]


torque [ft-lbf]
fuel consumption [lbs/hour]
brake specific fuel consumption (mass flow rate of fuel/power)
cycle efficiency (brake power/(mass flow of fuel x higher heating value of the fuel)
brake mean effective pressure

Discuss the physical meaning of the quantities above, and show the equations used for the calculations,
including conversions factors if needed. Show sample calculations.

Plot each of the quantities calculated as a function of engine speed (RPM) on the x-axis with a different line or
symbol for each throttle setting. Discuss the effect of engine speed, and the influence of throttle setting.
Assuming an ideal Otto cycle, calculate the predicted efficiency for this engine.
For engine speed of 2900 rpm using simple calculations (clearly explaining the relations used) estimate:

The maximum piston speed

The number of times per second that the spark plug fires

The approximate tensile stress induced on a connecting rod with a l-cm" cross-section as a result of
the deceleration of a 0.3-kg piston during each cycle
Using the test results, explain what would be the most desirable engine speed for:

Maximum power output

Maximum engine torque
Maximum engine efficiency.

Connecting rod length (center to center): 10.5 cm
Engine displacement: ............................. 206 cc
Compression ratio: ................................. 6:1
Bore: ...................................................... 65.1 mm
Stroke: ................................................... 61.9 mm


The fuel used in this lab is gasoline.

Molecular weight:
750 kg/m3 at 0C and 1 atm.
Heat of vaporization:
350 kJ/kg
Higher heating value: 47.3 MJ/kg
Lower heating value:
44.0 MJ/kg


Engine does

not start

Possible causes:

No fuel in the line

Check that the plastic hose is filled with fuel.

Tank is disconnected
Sometimes the connection is slightly tight. Verify that the quick connect valve is all the way in. A click
sound should be heard when plugging the hose correctly.

Oil switch is off

The oil switch is the interrupter of the electrical circuit. In order for the engine to work, the oil switch
must be turned on.

Exhaust valve is closed

If that is so, it will create a backpressure that will prevent the piston from doing the exhaust stroke.
The whole engine will feel tight or stuck upon pulling the start string.
The choke lever is not set correctly
This will produce the wrong proportion of fuel and air.
Fuel lever is in the off position
Very little fuel, if any, will be delivered to the piston if this valve is closed. There will be an incorrect
fuel-air proportion in the mixture. Both choke and fuel levers must be set to the right position for a
proper functioning of the engine.
Load valve is closed
This prevents the engine from rotating freely, since the dynamometer is mechanically connected to the
engine shaft. The engine will feel tight or stuck upon pulling the start string.
The spark plug cable is disconnected
If the cable is disconnected no spark will be produced in the cylinder yielding the combustion to be
impossible to start.
Oil level is too low:
This problem causes the oil switch to turn off automatically. This shuts off the electric circuit of the
engine making it impossible to maintain combustion.

Hydraulic oil hose kinked:

This will block the fluid in the circuit producing an excess of load in the engine for the startup. Follow the
circuit to verify that the hoses are not sharply bent anywhere.

Fuel hose kinked:

If the fuel hose is kinked there will be a poor fuel-air mixture in the combustion chamber.
Obstruction in the fuel filter:
The effect is the same as above. Visually inspect the filter for any object interfering with the normal fuel
flow. The filter mesh should have a metallic look and the holes should be visible.

Air filter clogged:

This will produce the fuel-air mixture to be too rich for igniting. In order to check the air filter it's
necessary to disassemble the black metal casing by twisting counterclockwise the butterfly nut on top.
The filter should look white and clean. Make sure there is nothing blocking the air inlet.

8.2 Problems with the engine running

Strange noise is heard:

a) The speed-reducer chain may be hitting the metal protection. Make sure there is not too much slack
on the chain. Verify that the chain is properly lubricated.
b) The exhaust couplings may have come loose. Carefully verify that all the pipes are tight.
CAUTION: Pipes may be hot. Use protective gloves in order to touch any of the exhaust pipes.
Engine stops:
Check the load valve and make sure it's not fully closed. If that isn't the problem, refer to section 8.1

Cylinder Head overheating:

The probable cause is that the load on the engine is too large. Turn the load valve to the full open position
and slowly reduce the throttle setting until the engine is idle. Allow it to cool down for a few minutes. The
head temperature should drop rapidly.

Hydraulic oil overheating:

The heat exchanger may not be able to dissipate the energy input by the engine. Open the load valve and
reduce the engine speed to idle for several minutes. The process of cooling the hydraulic oil takes much
longer than the head temperature. It sometimes takes up to one or two hours for the oil to come back to
operating temperature.