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2005 ABAQUS Users’ Conference 1

Acoustic Analysis of Power Units with an ABAQUS
Integrated Application Workflow
B. Klarin, B. Loibnegger, and Th. Resch
AVL List GmbH, Hans-List-Platz 1, 8020 Graz, Austria
Abstract: The design of low noise engines is still a challenging task due to contrary demands like
increasing use of light weight materials and tighter limits of admissible stress and strain. To
shorten the entire design process with pre-optimized prototypes the simulation of engine and
power unit vibration and structure-borne noise (surface velocity levels) becomes more and more a
standard application. Nowadays the target is to better integrate the necessary combined
simulation methodologies to reduce the overall analysis time (time of entire workflow). AVL
EXCITE has been developed especially for acoustic application using an outstanding simulation
technology, that enables results to be calculated very close to the absolute ones. Based on a
strategic co-operation with the company ABAQUS, AVL has implemented a seamless acoustic
analysis, which is outlined in this paper. The complete workflow is demonstrated on an inline 4
cylinder gasoline engine and compared with the traditional MSC.Nastran-oriented approach. This
new approach enables enhanced reliability due to automated data transfers, shorter project turn-
around times and reduced costs in reaching the targets.
Keywords: Dynamics, Multi-Body Dynamics, Powertrain, Substructures, Vibration, Design
1. Introduction
Virtual design and prototyping in the development of new combustion engines and power units
play a critical role in today’s automotive industry. Significant reduction of development time and
cost can be achieved by high quality simulation results. At the same time, increasing power and
speed of the vehicles, combined with demands for light and compact design, and resulting
complex geometry of engine parts, require detailed and time consuming calculations in the process
of engine design.
To meet these challenging requirements, many sophisticated simulation tools have been
developed, which are applicable in both concept and detailed analysis phases of engine
development process.
Results of numerical simulation of power units, as complex as they may be today, will no longer
be satisfactory unless they allow conclusions to be drawn with respect to the specific stages of the

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development process. The requirements are to predict stress, durability, vibrations and specific
vibro-acoustic phenomena. This is particularly true in regard to the cranktrain as the central part of
the engine.
Due to increased efforts for detailed modeling of elastic multi-body systems and relevant non-
linear body contacts, simulation models have become very complex and a high amount of
computation time is necessary to calculate accurate results. Thus, another challenge is to deliver
the results in the short time required for a fully integrated simulation solution in the different
stages of the development process.
Modern methods for simulation of engine dynamics consider the global movements, the coupled
torsional and bending vibrations of the crank train parts and the hydrodynamic influence of the
slider bearings under running engine conditions. Specific results are normally produced in both
time and frequency domains, including the detection of possible resonance (e.g. of a flywheel) and
the prediction of the strength of connected parts.
The solution procedure commonly used in the crankshaft dynamic analysis is based on a
combination of the multi-body dynamics and the Finite Element Method (FEM). AVL have
introduced the software EXCITE for this purpose, [1].
Due to the prediction requirements in the low frequency (mount vibrations) and the high frequency
ranges (noise transfer), various detailed models are developed. Hence, requirement for high
quality results on one hand and demands for less pre- and post-processing and calculation time on
the other generate conflicting demands for the engineers.
Therefore, many efforts have been made to automate the modeling process, e.g. for the complex
design of the crankshaft. Furthermore, the contact models have been developed for sliding
contacts in order to obtain better results with reduced computing time [3, 8]. In addition, an
economical bearing model has been developed, which is able to capture the physical behavior of
journal bearings with less computing effort.
2. General approaches
2.1 Multi-body system
In EXCITE, a multi-body system (MBS) approach has been implemented, which can be used to
simulate the dynamic behavior of crankshafts and engines. The total mechanical system of a
cranktrain consists of various parts (bodies) such as crankshaft and engine cylinder block, which
are coupled by non-linear contacts (joints) such as journal bearings. The mass/moment of inertia
and elasticity of these bodies are considered with the help of Finite Element Method (FEM).
In EXCITE (henceforth referred to as “the engine simulation tool”), two types of body motion
have been considered, namely the global motion (e.g., crankshaft rotation, connecting rod
movement) and local vibration motion.
The vibration motion is governed by Newton’s equation. For a linear elastic system, this can be
written as,

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f p q K q D q M + = ⋅ + ⋅ + ⋅
& & & (1)
where, q is the generalized displacement vector, and M, D, and K are mass, damping and stiffness
matrices of the MBS, p* is the inertia forces due to large global motion of bodies, and the f
the excitation forces. the f
consists of two parts: (1) the external forces/moments such as gas
forces, (2) non-linear constraint forces in joints such as hydrodynamic forces/moments in journal
Details of the mathematical models for global motion are omitted here, but can be found in [2-3].
2.2 Hydrodynamic model of journal bearings with misalignment
In order to efficiently and correctly model the non-linear constraint forces and bending moments
in the oil film of journal bearings, an expedient hydrodynamic model has been developed to
consider the effect of journal misalignment in a rigorous way.
Figure 1 depicts a simplified geometry of a bearing with a misaligned journal. For a constant oil
viscosity, the oil film pressure at a cross section of arbitrary axial coordinate (z) is determined by
the following Reynolds equation,
( ) ( )
( ) [ ] ' sin ' ' cos '

' cos ' 1
' cos ' 1
' 2
3 3
θ ω α ε θ ε
θ ε
θ ε
ξ avg
− + =






& &
The boundary conditions are,
0 ) 2 / , ' ( = ±L p θ (3)
Based on the short bearing approximation [7] and the geometrical relationship shown in Figure 1,
the analytical solution of Equation 3 has been obtained for oil film pressure,






− = z
G z
2 3
( ) [ ]
cos sin H G
θ ε θ ω α ε
& & + − =
ψ ϕ ψ ϕ & &
4 3 2 1 1
H H H H G + + + =
( ) θ ε cos 1+ = H
, H
, H
and H
are the derived coefficients attributable to journal misalignment.

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Figure 1. Bearing geometry with a misaligned journal

The enhanced HD model has been implemented as a so-called ENHD joint.. The implemented
module is able to cope with both node to node coupling and node to surface connection between
two bodies. It can be used to model all types of journal bearings such as connecting rod big end
and main bearings. It should be noted that in hydrodynamically lubricated journal bearings, the oil
film thickness can drop to a level comparable to surface roughness. When this happens, there will
be asperity to asperity contacts between the journal and bearing surfaces. This effect has to be
considered in order to correctly model the constraint forces/moments in these bearings and indeed
to enhance the convergence behavior of the hydrodynamic solution. Hence, in the ENHD module
a statistical asperity contact model developed by Greenwood and Tripp has also been implemented
in conjunction with the HD model described above.
Thus, the total pressure at a local position in the bearing is calculated by superimposing the
contact pressure (p
) onto the hydrodynamic pressure (p).
3. Acoustic Analysis Workflow
The target of acoustic simulation is to investigate complex engine dynamic behavior in the whole
speed range under different loading conditions in the most effective way during the Engine
Development Process (EDP). AVL has developed a straightforward procedure to perform acoustic
analysis by using this simulation tool.
The main bodies for this class of engine dynamic analyses are the power unit, crankshaft and
connecting rods. The AVL MBS approach works with condensed models, so prior to the MBS
analysis it is necessary to use a general FE solver like ABAQUS, MSC.Nastran or similar to
obtain reduced stiffness and mass matrices. Presented in this paper are the workflow (Figure 2)
and results from acoustic analysis done with reduced matrices obtained from ABAQUS and
MSC.Nastran. Based on a strategic co-operation with the company ABAQUS, AVL has
implemented an ABAQUS linear FE-solver inside the engine simulation tool a module called
EXCITE FEA (referred to as “integrated ABAQUS solution”).

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The starting point for generating the power unit, crankshaft and connecting rods FE models is
CAD data. Usually for the power unit, the FE model is prepared by a pre-processing tool and used
for further acoustic analysis. Basically two types of crankshaft models are supported: a full three
dimensional FE model as condensed matrices, and a structured model, which consists of
concentrated mass elements coupled by fully populated stiffness matrices. With the aim to speed
up dynamic analysis AVL has developed a special tool to model a crankshaft structured model for
which preparing only the CAD geometry is sufficient. All meshing and definition of stiffness
matrices as well as mass distribution is done automatically inside the engine simulation tool by the
modules AutoShaft and Shaft Modeler.

Figure 2. Acoustic analysis workflow.

Natural frequency analysis is an important part of every NVH Analysis. It has to be performed for
each FE-model as model check step and as basic investigation about the dynamic behavior.
Eigenmodes, eigenvectors and strain energy for each mode should be calculated and evaluated in
detail for the frequency range of interest. At the intersections of main engine excitation orders,
depending on engine type and curves representing natural frequencies, possible resonance can be
predicted. Based on the integrated ABAQUS solution this step can be directly performed
internally without the need for external FE-Solver.
Prior to the MBS analysis it is necessary to perform a condensation of the FE models and obtain
reduced mass and stiffness matrices to be used in further dynamic calculations. AVL recommends

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a combined static and dynamic condensation. The static condensation is used for all those master
nodes that are required to connect the different piece parts (e.g. main bearing nodes) and for
master nodes where external loading are assigned. The dynamic behavior of the remaining
structure is evaluated by the dynamic reduction, in which the vibration behavior is illustrated by
the vectors for the requested frequency range. All separate bodies, connecting rods, crankshaft and
model of the power unit are reduced separately. Using the integrated ABAQUS solution, which is
similar to the previous natural frequency analysis, condensation of different bodies can be
performed directly inside the MBS tool. Connecting rod reduced models can also be automatically
generated using the integrated tool.

Figure 3. AVL engine dynamic model.

AVL’s engine simulation tool is a multi-body system in which linear bodies are connected with
nonlinear connections-joints (see Figure 3) and it is the main tool in the presented acoustic
analysis. To perform acoustic analysis it is necessary to excite the structure with external forces
and moments. Those forces and moments have to be determined by pre-calculations or by
measurements. The main excitations which should be considered in power unit acoustic analysis
are combustion, timing drive and piston slap forces. AVL has developed special tools for
simulating dynamic excitation within the MBS model. Using these interfaces it is possible to
automatically assign excitation forces to the dynamic model, to update, modify and manipulate
them, and to perform a co-simulation.
Once dynamic calculations are performed, results for the retained nodal DOFs included in
condensed model and results for joints are directly accessible. If structure borne noise for the
complete power unit structure is evaluated, an additional calculation step called data recovery is

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performed. Data recovery can be done either with an external FE solver or by using embedded
functionality inside the engine simulation tool. The embedded solution makes those calculations
much faster and overall time needed for acoustic analysis much shorter. Results from data
recovery can be used in further air borne noise calculations.
4. Results Comparison
Models were run and compared between the integrated ABAQUS solution (based on version 6.4),
and the MSC.Nastran 2001 solution for FE-model condensation. The intention of this was to
increase confidence in the ABAQUS integrated solution and to understand what parameters could
be modified to increase performance. Results of those comparisons are presented in this chapter.
Note that the investigated FEM model is a relatively coarse model. This model can be investigated
relatively fast and with low system resources and it is sufficient for comparing solver capabilities,
as required for the present paper, but it would not meet actual requirements for detailed acoustic
analysis of an engine. For a better overview, results for a single engine speed under full load
condition are presented. A dynamic and acoustic complete analysis of a power unit is performed
for the full speed range and different loading conditions as full and part load as well as motored
4.1 CPU and Hardware Requirements
The most demanding calculation in the presented benchmarking for FE-solver is the dynamic
condensation of the power unit. The original MSC.Nastran FE-model input deck is converted to
ABAQUS format using ABAQUS translator. Differences in number of nodes, elements and DOFs
are results of different representation of beam and mass elements. The number of retained nodal
DOFs and retained eigenmodes was the same in both cases and all calculations are done on the
same workstation. A comparison of time and disk space needed for condensation showed better
performance when the integrated ABAQUS solution is used. MSC.Nastran has an advantage in
view of memory needed to perform the condensation task. In the case when the number of DOFs
in the FE-model is larger, memory required for the integrated ABAQUS solution can easily
exceed local resources.

Table 1. Power unit FE-model condensation.
Model ABAQUS MSC.Nastran
Body Powerunit Powerunit t
Total Number of Nodes in Uncondensed FE-Model 37583 37044
Total Number of Elements in Uncondensed FE-Model 30983 30742
Total Number of DOFs in Uncondensed FE-Model 151598 143658
Number of Retained Nodal DOFs in Condensed FE-Model 950 950
Number of Retained Eigenmodes in Condensed FE-Model 260 260
CPU Time 19 min 20 s 34 min 29 s
Disk Usage 3950.6 MB 4153.3 MB
Memory Usage 341.52 MB 190.04 MB

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It has to be mentioned that the lower memory usage by MSC.Nastran is true in general for all
investigated models and element types. The reduced disk usage and analysis time for ABAQUS,
as shown in this example, depends very much on the element types used within the model.

Figure 4 shows a relative comparison of disk usage and analysis time for condensation for
different types of elements in ABAQUS. For large FEM models the usage of C3D8I or C3D10M
elements should be avoided due to the large increase of system resources for these types of
elements. Instead of C3D8I element type C3D8R with hourglass enhancement are recommended.

Figure 4. Influence of element types on CPU time, memory and disk usage.

4.2 Natural frequency analysis
The natural frequency analysis is the first pre-step in any dynamic analysis. In the presented
benchmarking, results from natural frequency analysis are compared in different steps of acoustic
analysis. The first evaluation is done as a standard step in acoustic analysis workflow. As reduced
matrices from FE-model condensation are obtained from natural frequency solution, the same
comparison is done in this step. The engine simulation tool uses reduced stiffness and mass matrix
and as a model preparation step is also able to perform natural frequency analysis for each
condensed body. Results from those calculations are also compared with the solution when

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MSC.Nastran is used. In all three cases, the observed differences between the integrated ABAQUS
solution and MSC.Nastran are the same and have the same trend which is illustrated in Figure 5.
Up to 500 Hz results from natural frequency analysis are approximately the same and fully satisfy
requirements for acoustic analysis. Above this frequency differences between calculated
eigenfrequencies and mode shapes become larger due to mode perturbations. The main reason for
those perturbations is in the different representation of shell elements in MSC.Nastran and
ABAQUS. This effect can be clearly seen on power unit parts that are modeled only with shell
elements such as oil pan, engine brackets, gearbox housing and manifolds. One of the focuses in
further investigations should be the development of best praxis methodology in acoustic analysis
based on ABAQUS solver and improving user experience and modeling guidelines especially
when shell and beam elements are used.

Figure 5. Power unit natural frequencies.
4.3 Bearings
Modeling the dynamic behavior of the crank train of engines is a very complex task due to the
superimposition of its kinematics movement and deformation vibrations. In addition the non-
linearity of the crank train bearings affects the forces inside bearings. Those forces are one of the
main sources of power unit vibrations. Therefore, detailed bearing result evaluation is performed
to check the quality of obtained results when different FE-solvers are used. The comparison shown

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in Figure 6 clearly points out that dynamic result for body matrices, derived from each of the two
investigated solvers, are similar and correct.

Figure 6. Forces and orbital path at main bearing 4.
4.4 Torsional Vibrations
One of the main noise sources in an IC engine are crankshaft torsional vibrations due to engine
speed irregularity. On one side they highly determine timing drive excitation and on the other they
are the main source of gear noise. The comparison between calculations based on the integrated
ABAQUS solution and MSC.Nastran condensed FE-models shows that crankshaft torsional
behavior is not influenced by FE solvers. Together with prior bearing analysis it can be concluded
that determination of power unit global stiffness, especially bearing supporting structure, is the
same when both tools are used. Also it can be concluded that power unit dynamic behavior in
lower frequency range up to 500 Hz is represented in the same way in both FE-solvers.

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Figure 7. Torsional vibrations at crankshaft pulley and flywheel side.

4.5 Engine Mount Vibrations
To improve the noise and vibration behavior of a vehicle, the engine mount vibrations, which
excite the vehicle frame at different frequencies, should be carefully analyzed. The vibrations of
the frame and its components, which are excited by engine mount forces with higher frequencies,
can increase the sound pressure in the vehicle compartment. The benchmarking presented in this
paper showed the highest differences in view of engine mount vibrations. In the lower frequency
range up to 500 Hz, the response is almost similar for both FE solvers. Above this frequency
higher differences occur and can be explained with differences in natural frequencies and mode
shapes. Engine mount vibrations are mainly determined by the following parameters:
• excitation coming from power unit
• global power unit global eigenmodes
• engine mount frequency dependent characteristics
• engine mount bracket local modes.
In the presented benchmarking the first three parameters can be neglected as the same excitation
and the same engine mount frequency dependent characteristics have been used. Also global
power unit global eigenmodes can be neglected, as natural frequency analysis showed no
differences for those eigenmodes. In the analysed engine mount, brackets are modeled using shell
elements and local eigenmodes have higher difference in higher frequency range. In the presented
benchmarking in the MSC.Nastran model standard CQUAD4 and CTRIA3 elements are used and

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in EXCITE FEA C3D3R and C3D4R ABAQUS elements with enhanced hourglass control are

Figure 8. Accelerations at mounting brackets at 3000 rpm.

4.6 Structural Borne Noise
One evaluation criterion is the vibration levels representing the structure borne noise at discrete
structure points. A more global statement about the structure borne noise emission can be made by
summing up the vibration levels in the acoustic relevant frequency range to integral levels. To
perform these acoustic evaluations a transformation of the results into the frequency domain is
necessary. This is done via FFT (= Fast Fourier Transformation).
Mostly velocity levels or acceleration levels on the engine surface are used to judge the quality of
the design. To get a better overview of the power unit acoustic behavior, results from FFT analysis
are usually transformed to the octave and 3
octave band levels are evaluated for characteristic
points on engine structure. The comparison between calculations based on the integrated
ABAQUS solution and MSC.Nastran shows that vibration levels are affected by FE-solver in
octave and 3
octave bands near to local resonances. For the analyzed engine, ABAQUS gives a
slightly higher response in bands where local eigenmodes occur. In Figure 9 3
octave bands
velocity levels are compared at two locations of the engine in surface normal direction. One
comparison point is located at the engine block structure (volumetric elements) and the second at
the oil pan (shell structure). Results on the engine structure show identical results, the results at the

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oil pan point out differences in the acoustically relevant frequency range above 250 Hz. The
reason for these differences are mainly found in the different element types for the shell elements
for both FEM solvers.

Figure 9. Surface velocities at 3000 rpm.
Another evaluation criterion to judge power unit acoustic behavior is the evaluation of structural
borne noise for complete radiating surface. To evaluate these results it is necessary to perform
additional calculation steps and recover calculated vibrations from condensed FE-model having
only retained nodal DOFs and retained eigenmodes back to the uncondensed FE-model. This
calculation step is known as direct data recovery and recovery can be done with external FE-solver
or with direct data recovery inside the engine simulation tool. Using direct data recovery makes
those calculations much faster and overall time needed for acoustic analysis much shorter. To be
able to use this functionality it is necessary to store the transformation matrix, having omitted a set
of DOFs during condensation of the FE-model. Both ABAQUS and MSC.Nastran have this
possibility and are supported for direct data recovery. As an alternative solution to calculate entire
structural vibration results, a forced vibration analysis (for example mode based steady state
dynamic) could be carried out using all forces of the engine body, calculated by the dynamic
multi-body analysis. The three different possibilities available to calculate surface levels are
shown in Figure 10. A possibility of direct data recovery with ABAQUS is currently not available,
although forced response analysis can be performed.

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Figure 10. Approaches and methods for calculation of
entire structural vibration results.

Typical results of data recovery are normal velocity integral levels in different octave and 3

bands level evaluated for complete power unit structure or integrated in addition for characteristic
radiating surface area. Figure 11 shows velocity level results for the 2kHz octave band (defined as
integral values for the frequency range between 1420 and 2840Hz, covering range of three 3

octave bands with center frequency at 1.6, 2 and 2.5 kHz in Figure 8. The comparison between
both versions is sufficient, taking different element formulation into account.

Figure 11. Integral velocity levels for 2 kHz octave at 3000 rpm.

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5. Conclusions
The presented paper outlines a workflow for the usage of ABAQUS linear FE-solver for dynamic
and acoustic analysis including multi-body simulation by an example of a power unit under fired
condition. This workflow is fully integrated into the engine simulation tool AVL EXCITE. For the
specific FEM tasks modal analysis, matrix condensation and dynamic response analysis the
ABAQUS linear FE-solver is implemented into EXCITE as a module called EXCITE FEA. The
paper discusses the comparison of all workflow steps in view of system resources and main
dynamic and acoustic results between the FE-solvers ABAQUS and MSC.Nastran. In addition the
impact of different ABAQUS element formulations on the system resources are presented.
It can be concluded that ABAQUS is a very competitive tool for dynamic and acoustic analysis
and the integrated workflow ensures a compact and user friendly environment for the simulation
of engine and power unit vibration and structure-borne noise. The system resources are highly
dependent on the element formulation used in the models and should be further investigated. A
further reduction of system resources, especially memory, would be required. Additional effort
would be oriented on development of the best practice methodology to use all advanced modeling
techniques available inside ABAQUS linear solver with the aim to increase accuracy of results of
acoustic analysis.
6. References
1. Rasser, M., T. Resch and H.H. Priebsch. “Calculation of Coupled Torsional, Bending and
Axial Vibrations and Resulting Stresses in Crankshafts”, MTZ Worldwide, pp.25-28, 2000.
2. Priebsch, H. H., J. Krasser, “Simulation of Vibration and Structure Borne Noise of Engines –
A Combined Technique of FEM and Multi Body Dynamics”, CAD-FEM Users´ Meeting,
Bad Neuenahr–Ahrweiler, 1998.
3. Priebsch, H T. Resch, "Simulation and Optimisation of Engine Noise – Predictive Input for
the Development Process", 16th RIETER Automotive Conference 2003, Luzern.
4. H. Pramberger, L. Jun, "Engine Simulation for Vehicle Noise Reduction”, SAE Conference
2003, China.
5. Offner, G. et al, “Quality and Validation of Cranktrain Vibration Prediction – Effect of
Hydrodynamic Journal Bearing Models”, Proc. of Multi-body Dynamics – Monitoring and
Simulation Techniques III, pp. 255-271, 2004.
6. Parikyan T., T. Resch T and H.H. Priebsch, “Structured Model of Crankshaft in the
Simulation of Engine Dynamics with AVL EXCITE”, ASME Fall Technical Conference,
ICE-Vol. 37-3, Argonne, 2001.
7. Todorovic G., T. Parikyan, “Automated Generation of Crankshaft Dynamic Model to Reduce
Engine Development Time”, SAE Paper Offer 03P-336, 2002.
8. Ma, M-T., et al, “A Fast Approach to Model Hydrodynamic Behaviour of Journal Bearings
for Analysis of Crankshaft and Engine Dynamics”, Proc. of the 30
Leeds-Lyon Symposium
on Tribology – Transient Process in Tribology, pp. 313-327, 2003.