Purdue University Graduate School
FosterMSv9.pdf (10.2 MB)

Advanced Control Strategies for Diesel Engine Thermal Management and Class 8 Truck Platooning

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posted on 2020-07-29, 13:23 authored by John FosterJohn Foster

Commercial vehicles in the United States account for a significant fraction of greenhouse gas emissions and NOx emissions. The objectives of this work are reduction in commercial vehicle NOx emissions through enhanced aftertreatment thermal management via diesel engine variable valve actuation and the reduction of commercial vehicle fuel consumption/GHG emissions by enabling more effective class 8 truck platooning.

First, a novel diesel engine aftertreatment thermal management strategy is proposed which utilizes a 2-stroke breathing variable value actuation strategy to increase the mass flow rate of exhaust gas. Experiments showed that when allowed to operate with modestly higher engine-out emissions, temperatures comparable to baseline could be achieved with a 1.75x exhaust mass flow rate, which could be beneficial for heating the SCR catalyst in a cold-start scenario.

Second, a methodology is presented for characterizing aerodynamic drag coefficients of platooning trucks using experimental track-test data, which allowed for the development of high-fidelity platoon simulations and thereby enabled rapid development of advanced platoon controllers. Single truck and platoon drag coefficients were calculated for late model year Peterbilt 579’s based on experimental data collected during J1321 fuel economy tests for a two-truck platoon at 65 mph with a 55’ truck gap. Results show drag coefficients of 0.53, 0.50, and 0.45 for a single truck, a platoon front truck, and a platoon rear truck, respectively.

Finally, a PID-based platoon controller is presented for maximizing fuel savings and gap control on hilly terrain using a dynamically-variable platoon gap. The controller was vetted in simulation and demonstrated on a vehicle in closed-course functionality testing. Simulations show that the controller is capable of 6-9% rear truck fuel savings on a heavily-graded route compared to a production-intent platoon controller, while increasing control over the truck gap to discourage other vehicles from cutting in.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Gregory M. Shaver

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Terrence R. Meyer

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. John H. Lumkes Jr