Purdue University Graduate School
2021.12.6 Burbrink_MS_Thesis.pdf (3.82 MB)
Download file


Download (3.82 MB)
posted on 2021-12-20, 14:21 authored by Beau McAllister BurbrinkBeau McAllister Burbrink
A growing global population and improved standard of living in developing countries have resulted in an unprecedented increase in energy demand over the past several decades. While renewable energy sources are increasing, a huge portion of energy is still converted into useful work using heat engines. The combustion process in diesel and petrol engines releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as an unwanted side-effect of the energy conversion process. By improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines, more chemical energy stored in petroleum resources can be realized as useful work and, therefore, reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases. This research focused on improving the thermal efficiency of opposed-piston engines, which, unlike traditional reciprocating engines, do not use a cylinder head. The cylinder head is a major source of heat loss in reciprocating engines. Therefore, the opposed-piston engine has the potential to improve overall engine efficiency relative to inline or V-configuration engines.

The objective of this research project was to further improve the design of opposed-piston engines by using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to optimize the engine geometry. The CFD method investigated the effect of intake port geometry and exhaust piston lead angle on the scavenging process and in-cylinder turbulence. After the CFD data was analyzed, scavenging efficiency was found insensitive to transfer port geometry and exhaust piston lead angle with a maximum change of 0.61%. Trapping efficiency was altered exclusively by exhaust piston lead angle and changed from 18% to 26% as the lead angle was increased. The in-cylinder turbulence parameters of the engine (normalized swirl circulation, normalized tumble circulation, and normalized TKE) experienced more complex relationships. All turbulence parameters were sensitive to changing transfer port geometry and exhaust piston lead angle. Some examples of trends seen during the analysis include: an increase in normalized swirl circulation from 0.01 to 4.45 due to changes in swirl angle, a change in normalized tumble circulation from -28.52 to 21.11 as swirl angle increased, and an increase in normalized tumble circulation from 14.20 to 33.68 as exhaust piston lead angle was increased. Based on the present work, an optimum configuration was identified for a swirl angle of 15°, a tilt angle of 10°, and an exhaust piston lead angle of 20°. Future work includes expanding the numerical model’s domain to support a complete cylinder-port configuration, adding combustion products to the diffusivity equation in the UDF, and running additional test cases to describe the entire input space for the sensitivity analysis.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jason Ostanek

Additional Committee Member 2

Henry Zhang

Additional Committee Member 3

Peng Hao Wang