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Optimization of an engines performance


Application Note

Empowering Engineering Innovation

Optimization of an engines performance


The design of the intake and exhaust manifold geometry

and valve timing of an Internal Combustion (IC) engine
is very critical as it affects the engine performance, fuel
consumption and exhaust emissions.
This application shows how LMS OPTIMUS the leading
software in Design Space Exploration and Optimization
is used with RICARDO WAVE the leading engine
performance and gas dynamics simulation software to
optimize an IC engines performance.


The simulated engine is a 1.6L, four-cylinder, four-stroke,

16 valve, gasoline engine (Figure 1). The design variables
that are examined are six geometry parameters of the four
intake runners as well as four parameters that influence the
intake and exhaust valve profiles and timing. Each intake
runner is made of three parts and the length and diameter
of each part is a design variable. The valve profiles are
parameterized by the lift center angle and the lift duration.
The design outputs of interest are the Total Volumetric
Efficiency (VOLEFD) at different engine speeds. A global
performance objective is to maximize the weighted
summation of VOLEFD over the complete rpm range. Also,
by differing the weighting factors for some engine speeds, it
is possible to tune the performance of the engine to certain
rpm regions.

Figure 1: WAVE schematic engine representation and details of the different parts



OPTIMUS enables a number of different strategies

in identifying the optimum. Direct application of
optimization methodologies on the analysis sequence,
hybrid methodologies involving Design of Experiment
(DOE) and Response Surface Modeling (RSM) along with
optimization algorithms, design space exploration methods
and others. Here two different strategies are examined in
solving this problem:

OPTIMUS is used to generate different design alternatives

by assigning values to the set of design variables,
automating the WAVE runs, and the computation of the
objective function, towards an optimized design. Figure 2
shows the OPTIMUS analysis sequence. It specifies that
WAVE is run using tut-16v-optimus.dat as input data file
and that output results are extracted from file tut-16voptimus.sum. All the process of updating the input file
and retrieving the results is managed automatically by

- Explore the design space using DOE techniques and RSM,

generate an approximate optimal solution based on the
RSM and use this approximate solution as a starting point
for an optimization based on the WAVE simulations.
- Perform the optimization directly on the WAVE
For the first strategy, a classical DOE plan, the Full
Factorial Design (210 experiments) is used. In order to save
computation time (the analysis requires about 5 minutes
per experiment on a HP J5000) a Quarter Fractional
Factorial Design (257 experiments) is used instead. All the
variables are still varied over two levels but highest level
interactions are avoided.
The above DOE is sufficient for the generation of a firstorder Taylor polynomial. As it appears in Figure 3 the
simulated center point shows a large difference between
VOLEFD calculated by the RSM and the actual value.
In enhancing the RSM, a random-type DOE (Latin
Hypercube) with 150 experiments is processed in order to
add information to the factorial plan inside the design
space (Figure 4).

Figure 2: LMS OPTIMUS analysis sequence

Figure 3: Residual plot, simulated results compared to 1st-order model

On the same data a stochastic interpolating RSM is

also built (Figure 6). Using the Sequential Quadratic
Programming method an optimization study is performed.
This gradient-based method uses powerful gradient search
methods and a special merit function. Such an RSM-based
optimization brings a global improvement of VOLEFD over
the rpm range of about 6.4%.
Next this approximate optimal solution is used as a starting
point for an analysis-based optimization, improving the
global volumetric efficiency of about 7.8%. The complete
optimization process needs about 530 WAVE runs.

Figure 4: Design Space Exploration, VOLEFD3500RPM as a function of RunnerL1

With the additional information, a second-order Taylor

polynomial is generated and the impact of each design
variable on the outputs is analyzed. From a contribution
plot (Figure 5) valve lift parameters appear to be the most
influential on the global response, next the diameters and
eventually the tube lengths

Figure 6: Interpolating Model, 3D-plot

Figure 5: Contribution plot


In the second strategy no Response Surface Model is used

and the optimization process is started directly on the
analysis. This way of working is not the preferred one
because it doesnt give insight into the relations between
inputs and outputs but is in this case less expensive from
a computation time point of view than the DOE/RSM

This application demonstrates the ease to automate

RICARDO WAVE simulations within the LMS OPTIMUS
environment. The design variables examined include both
intake manifold geometry and valve profile parameters.
Two different optimization strategies are compared. The
first one based on DOE/RSM techniques is used to optimize
globally the Total Volumetric Efficiency over the selected
rpm range. The second one utilizes the same numerical
optimization algorithm (SQP) on the analysis simulations
directly. Even though it is more efficient, the amount of
information available to the decision-maker is diminished.

Several optimizations with different objective functions

are performed. By changing the weighting factors in the
objective definition it is possible to tune the engines
performance for particular rpm regions. Each optimization
requires about 150 WAVE evaluations.
Figure 7 shows results of Total Volumetric Efficiency versus
rpm for the different optimization cases. Note the dramatic
improvement of the global performance for each case when
compared with the nominal case (at least 7.5%). The
improvement is mostly effective in the low and middle
speed behavior with always a focus on the rpm with the
highest weighting factor. Note also the results of the RSMbased optimization.

The direct method is applied to perform a number of

optimization studies. The common objective is to increase
globally the Total Volumetric Efficiency but with different
weighting factors at specific engine speeds by tuning the
parameters to favor the performances at these specific
speeds. In any case the global improvement is of at least
Each computation is automated in order to free the
engineer from the repetitive task of generating input data
files, running the application, retrieving the results and
analyzing them before starting a new WAVE computation.
Though the computation time is quite important (about
750 analysis evaluations for the five direct optimizations),
the engineering time is on the other hand minimal
compared to the wealth of information that is provided in
achieving an optimal design.

Figures 8 compares the tuned values of the design variables

for the different cases as a percentage of the nominal value.
From a general point of view long runners favor high
engine speeds while all the diameters tend to lower values.
Optimal values of valve parameters (not shown) are very
similar for all cases.

Figure 7: Total Volumetric Efficiency after optimization

Figure 8: Geometric parameters change for the different optimization objectives.

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