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Model-based co-design of sensing and control systems for turbo-charged, EGR-utilizing spark-ignited engines

posted on 01.03.2021, 20:56 by Xu Zhang
Stoichiometric air-fuel ratio (AFR) and air/EGR flow control are essential control problems in today’s advanced spark-ignited (SI) engines to enable effective application of the three-way-catalyst (TWC) and generation of required torque. External exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) can be used in SI engines to help mitigate knock, reduce enrichment and improve efficiency[1 ]. However, the introduction of the EGR system increases the complexity of stoichiometric engine-out lambda and torque management, particularly for high BMEP commercial vehicle applications. This thesis develops advanced frameworks for sensing and control architecture designs to enable robust air handling system management, stoichiometric cylinder air-fuel ratio (AFR) control and three-way-catalyst emission control.

The first work in this thesis derives a physically-based, control-oriented model for turbocharged SI engines utilizing cooled EGR and flexible VVA systems. The model includes the impacts of modulation to any combination of 11 actuators, including the throttle valve, bypass valve, fuel injection rate, waste-gate, high-pressure (HP) EGR, low-pressure (LP) EGR, number of firing cylinders, intake and exhaust valve opening and closing timings. A new cylinder-out gas composition estimation method, based on the inputs’ information of cylinder charge flow, injected fuel amount, residual gas mass and intake gas compositions, is proposed in this model. This method can be implemented in the control-oriented model as a critical input for estimating the exhaust manifold gas compositions. A new flow-based turbine-out pressure modeling strategy is also proposed in this thesis as a necessary input to estimate the LP EGR flow rate. Incorporated with these two sub-models, the control-oriented model is capable to capture the dynamics of pressure, temperature and gas compositions in manifolds and the cylinder. Thirteen physical parameters, including intake, boost and exhaust manifolds’ pressures, temperatures, unburnt and burnt mass fractions as well as the turbocharger speed, are defined as state variables. The outputs such as flow rates and AFR are modeled as functions of selected states and inputs. The control-oriented model is validated with a high fidelity SI engine GT-Power model for different operating conditions. The novelty in this physical modeling work includes the development and incorporation of the cylinder-out gas composition estimation method and the turbine-out pressure model in the control-oriented model.

The second part of the work outlines a novel sensor selection and observer design algorithm for linear time-invariant systems with both process and measurement noise based on H2 optimization to optimize the tradeoff between the observer error and the number of required sensors. The optimization problem is relaxed to a sequence of convex optimization problems that minimize the cost function consisting of the H2 norm of the observer error and the weighted l1 norm of the observer gain. An LMI formulation allows for efficient solution via semi-definite programing. The approach is applied here, for the first time, to a turbo-charged spark-ignited (SI) engine using exhaust gas recirculation to determine the optimal sensor sets for real-time intake manifold burnt gas mass fraction estimation. Simulation with the candidate estimator embedded in a high fidelity engine GT-Power model demonstrates that the optimal sensor sets selected using this algorithm have the best H2 estimation performance. Sensor redundancy is also analyzed based on the algorithm results. This algorithm is applicable for any type of modern internal combustion engines to reduce system design time and experimental efforts typically required for selecting optimal sensor sets.

The third study develops a model-based sensor selection and controller design framework for robust control of air-fuel-ratio (AFR), air flow and EGR flow for turbocharged stoichiometric engines using low pressure EGR, waste-gate turbo-charging, intake throttling and variable valve timing. Model uncertainties, disturbances, transport delays, sensor and actuator characteristics are considered in this framework. Based on the required control performance and candidate sensor sets, the framework synthesizes an H1 feedback controller and evaluates the viability of the candidate sensor set through analysis of the structured
singular value μ of the closed-loop system in the frequency domain. The framework can also be used to understand if relaxing the controller performance requirements enables the use of a simpler (less costly) sensor set. The sensor selection and controller co-design approach is applied here, for the first time, to turbo-charged engines using exhaust gas circulation. High fidelity GT-Power simulations are used to validate the approach. The novelty of the work in this part can be summarized as follows: (1) A novel control strategy is proposed for the stoichiometric SI engines using low pressure EGR to simultaneously satisfy both the AFR and air/EGR-path control performance requirements; (2) A parametrical method to simultaneously select the sensors and design the controller is first proposed for the internal combustion engines.

In the fourth part of the work, a novel two-loop estimation and control strategy is proposed to reduce the emission of the three-way-catalyst (TWC). In the outer loop, an FOS estimator consisting of a TWC model and an extended Kalman-filter is used to estimate the current TWC fractional oxygen state (FOS) and a robust controller is used to control the TWC FOS by manipulating the desired engine λ. The outer loop estimator and controller are combined with an existing inner loop controller. The inner loop controller controls the engine λ based on the desired λ value and the control inaccuracies are considered and compensated by the outer loop robust controller. This control strategy achieves good emission reduction performance and has advantages over the constant λ control strategy and the conventional two-loop switch-type control strategy.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Gregory M. Shaver

Additional Committee Member 2

Peter H. Meckl

Additional Committee Member 3

Neera Jain

Additional Committee Member 4

Oleg Wasynczuk