University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Power and Propulsion


Professor David Kittelson
F. B. Rowley Chair in Mechanical Engineering
ME 455A
Phone: (612) 625-1808
Fax: (612) 625-6069

Courses and Laboratories

The Power and Propulsion Division enjoys close ties with the Center for Diesel Research (CDR) directed by Professor David B. Kittelson.

Courses within Power and Propulsion cover internal combustion engines, gas turbines, vapor power systems, turbomachinery, and thermodynamics. The courses are primarily for the junior to graduate level. In these courses, the underlying theory of power production systems and their application are studied. Lab courses in the areas of internal-combustion engines, steam power, and turbomachinery are offered at the senior level.

The Laboratories are primarily intended to cover the underlying theory basic to the equipment studied. While students are initially familiarized with the equipment and safety concerns, the main focus is on hands-on experience with the equipment and instrumentation, independence in the lab, and on the communication of experimental results.

student in engines lab

Facilities and Equipment
In the internal-combustion engine area, students are given the opportunity to become familiar with instrumentation relevant to engine testing and measurements. Thermodynamic and combustion principles are studied. Experiments include the measurements of the effects of air-fuel ratio and spark advance on the performance and emissions of engines, the use of alternative fuels and their effects on efficiency and emissions, and the study of diesel combustion and emissions.

Engine Dynamometer Test Stands / Test Cycles
The University of Minnesota engine lab has a state of the art laboratory designed for diesel, spark ignition, and natural gas engine emissions testing. The Engine Laboratory can accommodate engines ranging in size from 10 to 400 hp. Eight engine / dynamometer test stands are available for testing and research. Currently, four diesel engines are set up: 355 hp Caterpillar C12 (1998 post consent decree), 370 hp Cummins ISM (2004), 150 hp Caterpillar 3116T, 173 hp John Deere 4045H (2004+), one gasoline spark ignition engine (GM Quad-4), and one natural gas spark ignition engine (GM 366) in a co-generation system. Test cycles run in the lab include the ISO 8178 tests, the Federal smoke cycle, FTP (non-motoring), ramp tests, power tests, European on-highway test 88/77 (ECE R49), MSHA 30 CFR Part 7 certification tests and EPA off-highway 40 CFR part 89 certification and OICA tests. Various other cycles are programmed as required. A Digalog Cellmate III computer running Hypercell and PC / National Instruments / LabView systems provide flexible computer control and data acquisition.

Gaseous Emissions
Two gaseous emissions benches are available. The Pierburg bench is equipped with a model BINOS 2000 NDIR analyzer for carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2), while gaseous hydrocarbons (HC) are measured using a FID PM 2000. A CLD PM 2000 chemiluminescence analyzer is used to measure oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and a Beckman Model 995 NDIR analyzer is used to measure sulfur dioxide (SO2). Oxygen (O2) is measured using a Pierburg Oxymatic paramagnetic analyzer. The Horiba emissions bench is equipped with a model PIR 2000 CO / CO2 analyzer, a model 400A HC analyzer, a Thermo Environmental NO/NO2/NOx chemiluminescence analyzer, and a Teledyne Analytical O2 analyzer.

Particulate Emissions
Several instruments for measuring diesel particulate matter are available. For total mass, the Sierra Instruments' Models BG 1 and BG-2 Micro Dilution Test Stands, which comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency steady-state diesel particulate matter measurement criteria, are used. A semi-clean room is used for gravimetric analysis of mass particulate samples. Of special interest are several mini-dilution systems capable of simulating atmospheric dilution conditions. These are particularly useful for measuring nanoparticles in diluted exhaust streams. The dilution systems are capable of controlling aerosol residence time, dilution ratio and rate, humidity and temperature. A suite of state-of-the-art instruments for characterization of particle size are available including a TSI EEPS 3090 engine exhaust particle spectrometer, two scanning mobility particle sizers (SMPS), a nano-SMPS, an electrostatic low-pressure impactor (ELPI), a nano-Micro Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor (nano-MOUDI), and a diffusion battery. This combination of instruments allows particle size and concentration measurements from 3 nm to 10 ?m. Particle number counting instruments include two 3025A ultrafine condensation particle counters (UCPC) and a 3007 CPC. Particle active surface instruments include two diffusion chargers (DC), two photoemission aerosol sensors (PAS) and an electrical aerosol detector (EAD). Two aethalometers are available for measurement of black carbon mass. Several of these instruments allow near real time particle measurements. The ELPI, 3025A UCPC, DC, and aethalometer have 2 s or less response times and the EEPS and EAD have less than 1 s response times. The lab also has a thermal denuder and two catalytic strippers that allow volatile and nonvolatile particles to be differentiated. Particle calibration systems include nebulizers and a condensation aerosol generator as well as several differential mobility analyzers (DMA).

On-board Vehicle Monitoring
Our on-board vehicle monitoring capabilities are based around a Laptop PC running Windows and National Instruments LabView software. LabView serves as the programming language and data logger for the system. Currently, two devices are being used with the system, a ProLink 9000 Automotive Scan Tool for continuous reading of an automobile computer’s live serial data, and an ECOM-AC portable exhaust gas analyzer for measuring exhaust emissions (CO, CO2, O2, NOx, and NO2) at the tailpipe. In addition to these devices, the system is able to measure and log a wide variety of signals, including those from temperature sensors, pressure sensors, and other custom transducers.

Mobile Emission Laboratory (MEL)
Also available is a mobile laboratory capable of collecting aerosol data under on-road ambient conditions. The platform for the lab is a Volvo truck powered by a 350-hp diesel engine. The lab is housed in a standard 20-ft cargo container and the truck has its own hooklift that allows the lab to be loaded and unloaded from the truck. The lab is totally self-sufficient and can be shipped independently of the truck. It is powered by two 12.5 kW Onan generators and is designed to carry all of the aerosol instrumentation mentioned previously, plus it has its own sampling system consisting of a sampling boom(s), sampling manifold and bag sampler. Instruments are housed in special racks designed to minimize shock and vibration. Instruments include a scanning mobility particle sizer, condensation particle counter, diffusion charger, photoelectric aerosol sensor, thermodenuder, electrical low-pressure impactor, NOx, CO, and CO2 gas analyzers. The lab has its own data acquisition system based upon National Instruments hardware and Labview software.

The center staff also has capabilities and experience in conducting and evaluating field demonstrations, conducting surveys within the diesel industry, and preparing economic evaluations/comparisons of alternative fuels and of emissions control devices. In addition to serving commercial clients, the University faculty and students use the Center to develop new technology designed to reduce engine exhaust emissions in both confined and open environments. The Center offers unique research and educational opportunities for engineering students, outreach programs, and workshops.

Contact Information
For further information go to Center for Diesel Research or by contacting:

Professor David Kittelson
or Darrick Zarling, Scientist