Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Jeffrey D. Naber


Jason R. Blough


Determination of combustion metrics for a diesel engine has the potential of providing feedback for closed-loop combustion phasing control to meet current and upcoming emission and fuel consumption regulations. This thesis focused on the estimation of combustion metrics including start of combustion (SOC), crank angle location of 50% cumulative heat release (CA50), peak pressure crank angle location (PPCL), and peak pressure amplitude (PPA), peak apparent heat release rate crank angle location (PACL), mean absolute pressure error (MAPE), and peak apparent heat release rate amplitude (PAA). In-cylinder pressure has been used in the laboratory as the primary mechanism for characterization of combustion rates and more recently in-cylinder pressure has been used in series production vehicles for feedback control. However, the intrusive measurement with the in-cylinder pressure sensor is expensive and requires special mounting process and engine structure modification. As an alternative method, this work investigated block mounted accelerometers to estimate combustion metrics in a 9L I6 diesel engine. So the transfer path between the accelerometer signal and the in-cylinder pressure signal needs to be modeled. Depending on the transfer path, the in-cylinder pressure signal and the combustion metrics can be accurately estimated - recovered from accelerometer signals. The method and applicability for determining the transfer path is critical in utilizing an accelerometer(s) for feedback.

Single-input single-output (SISO) frequency response function (FRF) is the most common transfer path model; however, it is shown here to have low robustness for varying engine operating conditions. This thesis examines mechanisms to improve the robustness of FRF for combustion metrics estimation. First, an adaptation process based on the particle swarm optimization algorithm was developed and added to the single-input single-output model. Second, a multiple-input single-output (MISO) FRF model coupled with principal component analysis and an offset compensation process was investigated and applied. Improvement of the FRF robustness was achieved based on these two approaches. Furthermore a neural network as a nonlinear model of the transfer path between the accelerometer signal and the apparent heat release rate was also investigated.

Transfer path between the acoustical emissions and the in-cylinder pressure signal was also investigated in this dissertation on a high pressure common rail (HPCR) 1.9L TDI diesel engine. The acoustical emissions are an important factor in the powertrain development process. In this part of the research a transfer path was developed between the two and then used to predict the engine noise level with the measured in-cylinder pressure as the input. Three methods for transfer path modeling were applied and the method based on the cepstral smoothing technique led to the most accurate results with averaged estimation errors of 2 dBA and a root mean square error of 1.5dBA. Finally, a linear model for engine noise level estimation was proposed with the in-cylinder pressure signal and the engine speed as components.