The World's First Real-Time Measuring System For Combustion Chamber Gas Temperatures

Improved Fuel Economy and Reduced Emissions Are The Goal


  • Improved Fuel Economy and Reduced Emissions Are The Goal

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, in collaboration with Stanford University and Physical Science Inc (PSI), has developed the world's first technology to measure in-cylinder gas temperatures and a way to analyse the combustion in ‘real-time’ during engine operation.

This advanced technology uses a semi-conductor laser to calculate the temperature from measurements of gas concentration in the combustion chamber. This technology can be applied to any type of automotive engine, thanks to the development of a very small temperature probe that can be installed in a spark plug, enabling non-intrusive, real-time measurements.

Previous methods to measure the combustion gas required modifications to the engine. It was difficult to acquire useful data from methods such as attaching sensors inside the cylinder wall or estimating the temperature from camera images of the flame obtained in a specially modified optical-access engine.

The new technology is expected to contribute towards developing future generation engines with improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

This industry-academy collaboration began in November 2002 when Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., gave a speech at Stanford University. PSI subsequently joined the project to assist in the development of the new technology. Nissan's specific role was in the optical design of the temperature probe and overall project management, while Stanford University researchers were in charge of creating the basic concepts and methodology. PSI took charge of laser device development.

Professor Ronald K. Hanson, Mechanical Engineering Dept. of Stanford University said: "I am extremely pleased with our success at linking cutting-edge science with advanced engineering technology through this collaboration with Nissan. I believe that this technology will contribute to the development of future environmentally friendly engines and to the overall progress of measurement technologies."

Detailed results of this study will be published by the Institute of Physics and by the Optical Society of America in 2006, and also by the Society of Automotive Engineers International.

Published 11 September 2005 Melanie Carter

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