University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering
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Fundamental Research

From flame and catalytic reactor experiments to nanoparticle characterization and sensor development, the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Minnesota remains at the forefront of technology needed to develop the next generation of clean and efficient engines.

We are addressing grand challenges facing future engines, such as the need for pollutant emissions reduction, mitigation of carbon emissions, and the implementation of renewable fuels. Active research collaboration with established centers within the department, including the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power and the Center for Filtration Research, greatly add to our research capabilities.

Testing and Development

We are ready to take on development challenges relevant to the industry with our newly commissioned engine test facility.

Our staff and students are eager to use our new test cells to help prove new engine concepts, alternative fuels, instruments, and emissions control solutions.

Please contact us directly to see how we can help you meet your testing needs.

Research Areas

Engines and nanoparticles

Our well-established expertise in nanoparticle characterization and mitigation is world renowned. Current areas of focus include improving understanding of semi-volatile nanoparticles from advanced combustion modes and alternative fuels, examining solid particles from gasoline direct injection engines, and characterizing ash nanoparticles that originate from engine lubricating oil.

Advanced combustion  

Advanced combustion strategies in engines, like premixed low temperature combustion (LTC), have the potential to yield simultaneously low emissions of soot and oxides of nitrogen as well as greatly increase thermal efficiency.

Our group is examining ways to expand the use of LTC in engines though altering fuel chemistry and improving ignition in lean and highly dilute mixtures. We also are seeking ways to mitigate and characterize heavy hydrocarbon and CO emissions that generally accompany the use of LTC in engines.

Real-world engines

Engines in practice often have different emissions and fuel economy than those tested in the laboratory. We are examining how engines in vehicles behave under real-world conditions. One current project examines the effect of climate, drive cycle, accessory electrification, and bus hybridization on vehicle fuel economy and engine emissions of transit buses.

Alternative fuels

Alternative fuels can help reduce our dependency on gasoline and diesel and some can play a major role in reducing the carbon impact of engines in practice. Our programs in alternative fuels include quantifying and improving the emissions of renewable fuels like dimethyl ether, forming a better understanding of hydrogen and synthesis gas combustion in engines, and developing dual-fueling strategies to enable high efficiency engine operation. 



Thomas E Murphy Engine Research Laboratory | 2811 Weeks Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 | 612-625-6854 |