Research on ICEs is mainly focused on design, analysis of operation and development of control strategies. The activity is supported by experimental testing and quasi-dimensional/CFD modelling.
Engine testing is currently performed on the sound-proof test cell of the ICE laboratory which includes an eddy current dynamometer, a real-time measurement instrumentation and a flue gas conditioning system. In 2015 the test-cell has been equipped with a new programmable system able to control both the engine and the dynamometer, and a gas emission measuring system (O2, CO2, CO, NOx and THC). In-house testing has been restricted to oil-derived fuels (gasoline and LPG) by now, but test of alcohols is planned for 2017. Experimental research has been recently extended also to syngas-fuelled stationary engines thanks to the support of industrial and institutional partners (ETS Engine Technology Solutions srl and Istituto Motori of Naples).
CFD simulations are performed to analyse the flow field trough manifolds, valve ports and combustion chambers (calculation of pressure drop, valve discharge coefficients, in-cylinder charge velocity and turbulence). When possible, numerical results are validated using the steady-state flow measurements recorded in an in-house designed and assembled discharge flow test rig. Zero and quasi-dimensional models are preferred to CFD models to perform parametric studies of engine operation and predict optimum engine settings. An in-house one-dimensional code for spark ignition engine simulation has been recently developed to study abnormal combustion in collaboration with Istituto Motori of Naples.