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Catalytic Converter Design, Development and Manufacturing


Sivanandi Rajadurai and Mauro Tagomori
Advanced Catalytic Converter / Emissions Tenneco Automotive Grass Lake, Ml INTRODUCTION ABSTRACT Computer aided engineering is used to design, develop, optimize and manufacture catalytic converter. Heatcad, a transient heat transfer analysis is used to simulate the temperature response in the exhaust system to locate the catalytic converter to achieve maximum performance. Heatcad analysis provides the easy way to identify thermal management issues and to design and optimize the runner lengths and material thicknesses of the manifold, and downpipes. P-Cat is used to estimate back pressure due to substrates, end cones, and inlet/outlet pipes. Catheat, a one dimentional heat transfer tool is used to identify the converter insulation to maintain the required external skin temperature. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis, a powerful means of simulating complex fluid flow situations in the exhaust system, is used to optimize the converter inlet and outlet cones and the downpipes to obtain uniform exhaust gas flow to achieve maximum converter performance and reduce mat erosion. The uniformity index, velocity index (eccentricity) and pressure drop index predicted are used to optimize the geometry and orientation of the converter components. WAVE simulation is used to predict the exhaust system back pressure from the engine headface to tail pipe to estimate engine performance. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is used to predict structural mechanics and structural dynamics of the full exhaust system to give insight about the thermal fatigueness of the converter assembly. Heat transfer analysis performed with thermal, mechanical and road load conditions is used to predict the static and vibrational stresses of the converter components. Monte-Carlo statistical simulation is used to study the effect of material tolerances on Gap Bulk Density of the mounting mat and to control the converter manufacturing process. The measured GBD of the assmbled converter selected from the manufacturing lot on a randam selection is plotted along with the statistical simulation results to validate the modeling capability. Durable catalytic converter mounting, using thinwall substrates, poses the challenge of developing new converter canning techniques (1-4). Conventional catalytic converter developments driven by trial and error attempts by experts who sucessfully employ heuristics (a set of empirical rules gained through time and experience) will not be able to meet the current demanding needs. The cost and time involved in testing every catalytic converter mandates new approaches aimed at improving efficiency and reducing development lead time. Computational modeling and engineering using Heatcad, P-Cat, Catheat, WAVE, CFD, FEA and Monte-Carlo simulation provides major inroads to design, develop, optimize and manufacture catalytic converter.

CONVERTER DESIGN PROCESS The catalytic converter design process given in Figure 1 illustrates the sequential steps involved in the converter design, development and manufacturing cycle.

The process starts with the customer specific inputs such as vehicle information, engine characteristics and the Federal Test Procedure (FTP) data containing second by second raw emission, Air/Fuel ratio, exhaust gas mass flow rate, and temperature histogram. The design optimization criteria and material selection are based on the customer defined targets such as catalytic converter emission performance, pressure loss,

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durability, warranty, noise vibration and harshness requirements, and cost. Computational Analysis and Engineering (CAE) capabilities were used to identify and optimize the components of the catalytic converter. CAE capabilities used in our converter product development cycle is given in Table 1. Proper material selection using these computaional predictions eliminates material and design failure issues. The prototypes produced and validated using the computarized optimized soft-tools gives the validation confort level and eliminates unforeseen process delays. Verification of Design of Experiment (DoE) and production validation (PV) tests of the product produced from the production hard-tool satisfies the customer requirements without any product failures.

runner length and configuration. The right length of the runners and the configuration suitable for the light-off performance needed was optimized using the transient response prediction.

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P-CAT ANALYSIS

PRELIMINARY DESIGN 1. HEATCAD ANALYSIS A transient heat transfer model for exhaust systems based on mass flow rate and engine-out thermal parameters were used to predict the location of the catalytic converter. Heat transfer due to convective flow, convection heat transfer between exhaust gas and pipe wall, conduction within pipes along the axial direction and radiation to the ambient had been considered in this model (5-7). The flow condition at each location of an exhaust pipe was determined by the independent variables such as velocity, density and pressure. The non-linear and hyperbolic governing equations of mass, momentum and energy used here assumed the incompressible flow and quasi-staedy state conditions (8-10) A typical example of locating a catalytic converter by optimizing runner lengths of the manifold using Heatcad prediction is discussed here. A 4-2-1 manifold configuration used in the analysis. Other configurations such as 4-1 with single wall and thinwall air gap (TWAG) with different runner lengths were also used in the analysis. Results given in Figure 2 showing the temperature profiles for 20- seconds and 150 seconds clearly demonstrates the loss of temperature due to the

P-Cat is a software used to predict the back pressure due to converter substrates, endcones and inlet pipes. Exhaust gas mass flow rate, temperature, substrate dimension, cell density, and wall thickness are used to calculate the Reynold Number and the pressure drop across the substrates. Back pressure of a close coupled converter due to single and combination substrates with different cell densities and wall thicknesses were predicted to calculate the total pressure drop across the substrates. Figue 3 gives the relative pressure loss and substrate volume for equal geometric surface area (GSA) substrate combinations. This output is used in the WAVE simulation to estimate the back pressure of the full exhaust system.

3. CAT-HEAT ANALYSIS Cat-Heat is a one dimensional heat transfer model to predict the temperature distribution and heat flow through the converter mounting system, i.e., from the substrate skin to the converter outer shell (or heat

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shield). The boundary conditions are substrate skin temperature, ambient temperature, film coefficient and shell emissivity. The following set of equations describes the radiative, conductive and convective heat transfer modes involved:

substrate in the flow analysis, which represents a pressure resistance to the fluid. The flow within the substrate channel was assumed to be laminar and fully developed. The model parameters were calculated based on the substrate properties: the material, cell density, wall thickness and coating. Flow uniformity can be defined in several ways. By defining a flow uniformity index C , the effect of the geometry of the exhaust manifold and converter on flow maldistribution at the inlet cross-section of the monolith could be better understood. The average velocity of the inlet space is calculated as follows.
d

where V is the velocity component in the stream V is the direction for a single cell and n is the total number of cells at the selected plane. A local uniformity index for a single cell is then defind as;
i

The uniformity index C is then calculated using


d

Hence, C has values from zero (worst case) to one (unifrom flow). The four functional advantages to uniform flow distribution are: 1. available catalyst volume is maximised for chemical reactivity, 2. highly concentrated and localised flow are minimized, 3. exhaust back pressure is minimized and 4. excessive temperature gradients are minimized. A more uniform flow increases the useful life of the catalyst, while reducing the risk of "in-use" emissions and/or thermal, mechanical, and chemical durability failures.
d

DESIGN OPTIMIZATION CFD ANALYSIS OF THERMAL FLUID FLOW It is well known that the catalytic converter performance and the pressure drop are substantially affected by flow distribution of the exhaust gas within the substrate. Uniform gas flow can be achieved by careful design of the hot end of the exhaust system specifically the catalytic converter cones and the downpipes (11). The computational mesh consists of 80K cells, which includes the fluid, substrate, mat and the shell. The mesh was generated using ICEMCFD. Star-CD was incorporated with all theoretical models to do the analysis. A porous media model was used to treat the

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Characteristics for efficient flow defines high velocity flow area as the area where the minimum flow velocity is 65% of the maximum flow velocity and the low velocity area as the area where the minimum flow velocity is 35% of the maximim flow velocity. By rule of thumb, the high velocity area must utilize 40% of the catalyst frontal area and the low velocity flow must utilize about 90% of the catalyst frontal area. Velocity Index, the "location" of the peak velocity point relative to the center of the catalyst is defined as the location within 30% of the distance from the catalyst center to the extremities of either axis of the catalyst. WAVE MODELING Engine performance and the exhaust system back pressure were predicted using WAVE simulation. A representative dual bank exhaust system to predict the engine performance using WAVE simulationis given in Figure 7. The catalytic converter internals were optimized by predicting the system back pressure with different substrates in catalyst 1 and catalyst 2 in the Figure 7 configuration. Susbstrates with 400 cells per square inch (cpsi) and 4 mil wall thickness as represented by 400/4 is compared with 600/4 and combination 900/2 and 400/4. As seen in the graph, the engine performance at higher engine RPM conditions with high cell density substrates caused higher back pressure and lower engine performance. Since more than 60% of the back pressure is caused by the substrates in the exhaust system, a proper selection of the ceil densities is very critical to achieve maximum engine performance. Obviously the trade-off between the emission performance and the back pressure was carefully weighed to optimize the substrate shape, geometry, and cell densities. Thus computational simulation gives a tremendous time saving in optimizing the components of the catalytic converter.

FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS In order to investigate the durability of a converter, the necessity of studying the converter from a full system point of view had been recognized. The loading which the converter assembly exposed to were from the full system loading, such as engine movement, engine/road vibration as well as thermal expansion load, etc. Figure 20 gives the influence of the load conditions on the exhaust system to the converter assembly. Of special consideration was the converter assembly's behavior at high operating temperature. Figure 8 shows an example of a hot end system model including the converter assembly. The skin temperature of a converter assembly at operating condition sometimes could reach 700 C. Under such conditions, the thermal stress/strain occurs due to the thermal expansion and the constraints of the system. How the converter assembly was placed in an exhaust system and how the exhaust system was mounted to the vehicle body/chassis usually had a profound impact on the thermal stress/strain level in the converter assembly and the exhaust system.

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Converter Canning Process Simulation The canning process has a substantial impact on the quality and performance of the converter, since the pressure distribution on the substrate, the GBD distribution in the mounting mats are affected by the converter shell design, canning tool design, as well as the closing speed and load. In order to prevent substrate breakage during the converter assembly closing process and to maintain the desired mat GBD, these critical variables need to be carefully controlled. The four basic canning and GBD control methods used in ceramic converters are summarized in Figure 9 and Table 2. Hot rolled, stuffed-sized and swedged are derivatives of the stuffed design process. Closing the can using a fixed gap has the advantage of offering a fixed final dimension of the converter, which simplifies the design and welding of the cones and shells. Closing the can using a fixed force has the advantage of offering a more accurate GBD control since the dimensional tolerance influence of the shell, mat and substrate dimensions is eliminated. The single seam or single shell design is usually preferred for round, trapezoidal or oval converters with low aspect ratios because it offers the most uniform GBD distribution. Moreover using a single rolled and cut shell provides greater manufacturing flexibility, allowing fast design changes without the need of expensive stamping tool modifications. The dual seam or split shell design is usually preferred for oval converters with high aspect ratios since the addition of reinforcing ribs provide extra protection against shell deformation, which can lead to GBD nonuniformity in the major axis of the converter. However, the production volume has to justify the extra tooling cost required by the stamping process. Also, the addition of ribs creates regions of GBD nonuniformity.

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GAP BULK DENSITY GBD (gap bulk density) is defined as the density of the mounting mat in the gap between the substrate and converter shell.

For round converters:

Since a real converter has an infinite number of GBD's, Equations 1 and 2 for a round converter can be summarized as follows:

The above equation states that the substrate has an average gap around the whole circumference and shows that GBD is affected by the mat weight, shell diameter and substrate diameter. Any uncertainty on the value of these parameters affects the final GBD value. Therefore, GBD depends on the manufacturing tolerances of the mat, shell and substrate. Prototype and Manufacturing Monte-Carlo Simulation on Parametric Studies In order to analyze the impact of individual component tolerance on the total GBD distribution, a mathematical model using the Monte-Carlo method was developed. The idea is to generate a large number of random values with normal distribution for each component (i.,e., substrate, mat and shell) and build combinations of these components to form N converters (a value of 1,000,000 was used in this study). Statystical analysis was then applied on the modeled distribution. Effect of Individual Components on Total GBD Tolerance Figure 10 shows the contribution of the converter shell, mouting mat and substrate tolerances on the total GBD tolerance. This figure clearly shows that the overall result from these tolerances is not additive because the odds of all three components being in their respective tolerance low/high ends is negligible (12). Figure 12 also illustrates this observation. Monte-Carlo simulation results predict a GBD distribution roughly half as wide as simply adding the tolerance of individual components in what is known as tolerance stacking.

GBD Target Definition Using Monte-Carlo Simulation Assuming that the mat specification targets shown in Figure 12 are correct and assuming that the manufacturing processes are under control (i.e., cpk 1.33), we conclude that the target of GBD = 1.00 g/cm3 is reasonable. However, under special situations such as severe temperature/vibration or cold failure conditions this target might not be acceptable. The final target has to be decided case by case and the Monte-Carlo model is a useful tool to perform this task.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The authors are greatful to Cathy Chung, Henry Cheng, and Fumin Pan for their advanced engineering modeling work.

REFERENCES 1.) Rajadurai,S., Geer.L, Chung,H., Snider, B.,Carlson, T., Michels.J., "Shoebox Converter design for thinwall ceramic substrates", SAE 199901-1542 Rajadurai,S., Geer.L., Chung,H., Chang,H., and Pan,F., "Catalytic Converter Design, Development and Optimization using Computational analysis and Engineering", SAE 990050, SIAT 1999. Ryan, M.J., Becker, E.R., and Zygourakis,K.,"lightoff performance of catalytic converters, The "effect of heat / mass transfer characteristics," SAE 910610 John D. Ten Eyck, " Monolithic catalytic converter mounting arrangement," US Patent 4,863700, Sep.5, 1989 Robertson,D.F., "A study of thermal energy conservation in exhaust pipes," SAE 790307, 1979. Wendland, D. W., " Automotive exhaust system steady state heat transfer," SAE 931085, 1993. Chen, D. K. S., "A numerical model for thermal problems in exhaust systems," SAE 931070 Incropera, F. P. and Dewitt, D. P., Fundamnetals of heat and mass transfer, Third Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 1990. Ball, D. J., "Distribution of warm-up and underfloor catalyst volumes," SAE 922338, San Francisco, California, 1992.

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 1. Heatcad analysis is used to design and optimize the manifold of the exhaust system and to locate the catalytic converter at the right place for maximum light-off performance. P- Cat is used to optimize the substrate size, cell density, and wall thickness of the catalytic converter with minimum back pressure.

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3. Catheat is used to identify the mounting mat to meet the required external skin temperature. 4. CFD is used to design the downpipes and the cones of the converter for the desired uniformity index, eccentricity index and pressure index.

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5. WAVE simulation is used to predict the effect of substrates in the full exhaust system back pressure and engine performance. 6. FEA is used to predict the influence of system vibration on the structural stresses of the converter assembly. Monte-Carlo simulation is used to study the effect of component tolerance to optimize the process to manufacture the required GBD.

10.) Zucrow, M. J. and Hoffman, J. D., "Gas Dynamics," Volumel, John Wiley and Sons 1976. 11.) Bressler,H., Rammoser,D., Neumaier,H., and Terres.F., "Experimental and predictive investigation of a close coupled converter with pulsating flow," SAE 960564, 1996 12.) Rajadurai,S., Tagamori, M., Baig,A, Snider,B., and Berryhill, J., "Single seam stuffed Converter design for thinwall substrates", 99FL299

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8. The GBD predicted using Monte-Carlo simulation and the measured values are comparable.