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Applied Thermal Engineering 55 (2013) 26e32

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Misfire detection of a turbocharged diesel engine by using artificial

neural networks
Bolan Liu a, *, Changlu Zhao a, Fujun Zhang a, Tao Cui a, Jianyun Su b
School of Mechanical and Vehicular Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, 5 S Zhongguancun St., Beijing, China
Guangzhou Automobile Co., Ltd., Automotive Engineering Institute, Guangzhou, China

h i g h l i g h t s

 We build a neural network model for diesel engine misfire detection.

 We make fault topology of diesel engine misfire to compose the training vectors.
 Detection veracity depends on adding more related information of training vectors.
 Experimental research shows that the detection algorithm can identify engine misfire successfully.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This study presents a novel misfire detection model of a turbocharged diesel engine by using artificial
Received 24 October 2012 neural network model. An explicit back propagation neural network has been developed to identify
Accepted 24 February 2013 diesel combustion misfire according to the general engine operating parameters. The parameters are
Available online 15 March 2013
selected by using engine fault mode tree analysis. The proposed neural network model has been
implemented in MATLAB/Neural Network Toolbox environment. Experimental study then has been
performed on a V6 turbocharged diesel engine to get the parameters for both network training and
Diesel engine
validation purpose. Initial results show that misfire can be captured in most cases, however some mis-
Misfire detection
Neural network
detection could happen though the mean square error of the model is satisfied. Furthermore, the in-cycle
Modeling engine speed variation, a deductive parameter of transient engine speed, is added into the training data,
Experimental study which promotes the final results to full correct detection with no exception. The current study provides a
new way to detect the happenings of misfire of turbocharged diesel engine.
Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction damage threat to the expensive after treatment components due to

abnormal combustion.
Turbocharged diesel engines are widely used in heavy-duty On modern diesel engine, electronic control units are used with
commercial vehicles because of good fuel economy and high many sensors to acquire plenty of engine running information.
durability. Supervision of engine operating status is a critical ac- However, it is still not easy to identify misfire happenings by simple
tivity in order to guarantee optimum fuel efficiency, power per- logic or algorithm. Either the mechanical or electronic components
formance and minimum emissions. Among all the possible failures, error could result in misfire, such as solenoid drive failure, injection
misfire of combustion is very typical and serious, which can directly nozzle block, lower compression ratio (due to the worn piston ring),
lead to bad engine performance. OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics) of and poor air fuel mixing inside cylinder etc.
diesel engines used on highway vehicles had been mandatory for Many studies have been performed to detect misfire of diesel
model year 2010 and beyond in the United States, which under the engines by using variety of methods. Bogus and Merkisz [1] used
name of EOBD (European On-Board Diagnostics) also became a non-linear methods that are based on the deterministic chaos
European standard in 2000. One of the crucial functions of the OBD theory to identify misfire. Their research results demonstrated that
II system is misfire detection, which helps to control original engine the dominant Lyapunov exponents in the case when all the cylin-
direct exhaust emissions. Moreover, detection of misfire eliminates ders are in operation to be differing considerably from those ob-
tained when one cylinder does not work. Some misfire
identification strategies are based on the analysis of instantaneous
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ86 1068913955. fluctuation in crankshaft angular velocity, such as time-frequency
E-mail address: (B. Liu). analysis [2], multivariate statistical analysis [3,4] etc. However,

1359-4311/$ e see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
B. Liu et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 55 (2013) 26e32 27

these methodologies cannot be applied to the whole engine speed In Section 3, the basic working principle of the model and structure
range. Several studies were conducted successfully on misfire exploited in this paper are described. Section 4 conducts a diesel
detection by performing the engine vibration signal analysis [5e7]. engine misfire fault analysis, which further decides the composi-
Nevertheless, additional acceleration sensors were needed to re- tion of the training data vectors. In Section 5, a network is trained
cord the vibration signal and the installation (or signal direction) by using the data vectors acquired in Section 4 in Matlab/Neural
should also be considered. Cylinder pressure based misfire identi- Network Toolbox environment. Though the objective system error
fication methods can be found in some papers and achieved ideal is satisfied, some mis-detection still occur occasionally, which leads
results [8,9], but cylinder pressure sensor is expensive and seldom to the reform of input training data. Finally the correct misfire
used in the product type diesel engines. Besides these popular detection is achieved.
methods, some other non-typical detection methods like exhaust
temperature or noise supervision, intake charge oxygen concen- 2. Experimental setup
tration (for engines with Exhaust Gas Recirculation) are also re-
ported in some studies. In this study, a V 6-cylinder Deutz TCD2015 turbocharged diesel
As mentioned above, the happenings of diesel misfire are engine is used on a dynamometer test bench. The aim of the
affected by many factors, it may be impossible to setup a simple experiment is to get some engine running parameters at normal
physical model that can clearly depict such phenomenon. Due to conditions and misfire. These parameters include engine speed,
this reason, artificial neural network model is exploited in this power, fuel efficiency, intake, exhaust, cooling temperature etc. The
paper, which is considered to be more suitable for some areas parameters will be used to compose many groups of data vectors,
where the conventional modeling methods cannot fit. This tech- which can be used as the data inputs to train the neural network.
nique can be utilized to estimate the desired output parameters The details of the engine’s specifications are shown in Table 1.
when enough test data is provided and it has been widely used in All relevant parameters to our study are recorded when the
diverse industry fields. As a matter of fact, the use of neural engine runs under steady state conditions. Some of the data are
network for modeling and control of internal combustion engines is obtained by utilizing the sensing information of the engine itself,
increasing in recent years for pursuing better exhaust emission and while others like exhaust temperature, fuel flow rate, air mass flow
fuel economy. Some studies present neural network models to rate etc. are acquired by adding some additional sensors. The speed
predict the torque and brake specific fuel consumption of gasoline and the load of the engine are regulated by using a CAMA CW440
engine [10,11]. To train the network, spark advance, engine speed, eddy current dynamometer. Fuel mass flow rate is metered by an
and throttle positions are used as the input layer and the results Ono Sokki FP-2140 volumetric fuel flow meter, with which the
show perfect agreement with experimental data. On engine emis- accuracy within 0.2 percent of the reading can be achieved. Air
sion control, it is widely accepted the fact that it’s difficult to predict mass flow is collected by using Toceil20N100 hot film metering
the engine emission characteristics by the exact mathematical device, the precision is 1 percent of the recorded value. The steady
model. So many parameters like fuel property, combustion, state engine speed is calculated by using a camshaft speed sensor
mileage, environment etc. may affect the engine emission. Quite a with sampling period of 120 crank angle (CA).
lot of studies can be found to model engine emission performance The data acquisition system used is a Dewetron 5000 all-in-one
by using neural network [12e15]. Their research results show that bench-top instrument, which features fast sampling, up to 1 MS/s
all exhaust emissions of hydrocarbon (HC), carbon oxide (CO), per channel and high accuracy, 24 bit resolution. It is compatible
particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) can be modeled with both analog and digital signal. Some internal parameters of
and good agreement has been achieved with the test data. Another the electronic control unit communicates with the data acquisition
concern of emission prediction in engine control is that close-loop system via CAN bus. As the electronic unit pump (UPS) high-
combustion control in future engines will be overriding concern for pressure fuel injection system is mounted, it is very simple to
both efficiency and emissions. simulate the misfire on certain cylinder by shutting off its fuel
In order to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel, more and more supply. Fig. 1 shows the schematic representation of the experi-
alternative fuels have been used in the internal combustion en- mental setup and also the data measuring system on it.
gines, such as ethanol, bio-diesel, cooked vegetable oil etc. How-
ever, it’s hard to simulate engine performance when new types of 3. Neural networks description
fuel are used due to the more complex chemical kinetics inside
cylinder. For instance, modern official standards list more than 20 An artificial neural network, usually called neural network, is a
parameters that must be determined to certify biodiesel quality, mathematical model which is inspired by the structure and func-
and these analyzes are time-consuming and less helpful to model tional aspects of the human nervous system. They have been shown
engine performance. Several studies, which use neural network to exhibit many abilities, such as learning, generalization and
model, were implemented successfully to model the performance abstraction [20]. Neural network operates like a ‘‘black box”, and
of engine fueling with the alternative fuels [16e18]. Neural network
are also used in engine control, Hafner et al. [19] design a fast neural
networks for diesel engine controller development. They use neural Table 1
Test engine specifications.
network models which are integrated into an upper-level emission
optimization tool that calculates a cost function for exhaust versus Type TCD2015 V6
consumption and torque, and then determines optimal engine Bore 132 mm
settings. Stroke 145 mm
Displacement 11.9 l
As many studies are illustrated here in both engine estimation
Compression ratio 16.5:1
and control domain, this study will try to detect engine misfire by Rated power 360 kW (2100 r/min)
utilizing this model as the happenings of misfire may be caused by Maximum torque 2080 Nm (1300 r/min)
many reasons. To perform misfire detection, a six-section study is Specific fuel consumption 202 g/kW h
presented by using back propagation neural network model on a Fuel injection system BOSCH UPS with EDC 7 ECU
Cooling system Water cooled
turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine. Section 2 tells the tech- Air intake system Turbo-charged with inter-cooler
nical data of the test engine and equipments used on the test bench.
28 B. Liu et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 55 (2013) 26e32

three kinds of layers: input, hidden and output. As proven by Robert

Hecht-Nielson in 1989 [23], a three-layer back propagation neural
network can be used to a mapping of any n-dimensional vectors to
m-dimensional vectors in a closed interval. All the nodes in
different layers are called neurons separately.
A three-layer network is used in this study and shown in Fig. 3.
The input layer receives information from the outside and feed
forward through a hidden layer to the outputs. On the contrary, the
error value, the discrepancy between the actual output and the
objective, is propagated backwards through the network, and some
updates are made to the weights in each layer. The weight changes
are calculated to reduce the error again. The whole process will be
repeated until the ideal results are achieved.
Each neuron in the hidden layer is described by a nonlinear
tansig function while the logsig function is used in the output layer.
The tansig and logsif function are given as follows:
tansigðxÞ ¼ 1  e2x 1 þ e2x (1)

logsigðxÞ ¼ 1= 1 þ ex (2)

The neural network mathematical model that represents the

structure shown in Fig. 3 can be defined as:

T ¼ logsigðV$ðtansigðW$P þ B1 ÞÞ þ B2 Þ (3)
Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the experimental setup.
where T is a column vector that contains the m outputs, P is a
column vector that contains the n inputs, W is a matrix of size n$s
does not require detailed information about the system [11]. Diesel that contains the weights of the neural net model from the inputs to
engines are multi inputs and outputs system with high nonline- the hidden layer, in which s represents the number of neurons in
arity, which are more suitable to use this model. Another advantage the hidden layer, V is a matrix of size s$m that contains the weights
of using this model is their ability to handle many interactive pa- of the neural net model from the hidden layer to the outputs, B1 is a
rameters as engine runs. Comparing with the serial-operated column vector of size s that contains the biases from the inputs to
expert system, neural network perform parallel processing to the the hidden layer and B2 is a column vector of size m which contains
data and judgment, which enlarges its eligibility to different engine the biases from the hidden layer to the outputs. By using the tansig
operating status. With all the benefits mentioned above, neural as the transfer function in the hidden layer, all the elements in the
network are widely used in industry field for different purposes on input vectors need to be limited within the 0 to 1 interval by means
both estimation and control [21]. of data normalization. The number of hidden neurons s affects the
The basic elements of the neural network are artificial neurons performance of the neural network over the training. More neurons
and a neuron model is illustrated in Fig. 2. The inputs vector xi is make the fitting of data more accurate over the training region [24],
transmitted through a connection that multiplies its strength by while more calculation time is needed. However, what’s more this
the scalar weight w. Then this weighted inputs sum up with a given
bias bk produces an intermediate variable vk. By using certain
transfer functions, the output vector yk is generated according to
different applying purpose. In this study, a back propagation algo-
rithm based neural network will be exploited to detect the
happening of misfire of a diesel engine. It is the most widely used
training algorithm for multi layer perceptron by using the gradient
descent technique, in which the network weights are moved along
the negative of the gradient of the performance function [22].
Generally, the back propagation neural network is composed of

Fig. 2. Basic structure of an artificial neuron. Fig. 3. The architecture of proposed neural network model.
B. Liu et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 55 (2013) 26e32 29

Fig. 4. Misfire fault topology of the diesel engine.

study concerned is the future on-board compatibility. For this

consideration, fewer nodes are preferred when system error meets
the objective.
Fig. 5. Evolution of the network training process.
4. Misfire fault mode analysis
verification. Among these vectors, randomly 80 percent of them are
As the basic neural network model has been developed, the next employed as the neural network training inputs while the rest are
step is to get some inputs to train the network. On the test diesel used as the verification samples. Prior to train the neural network,
engine, so many data can be obtained by data acquisition system. all the training vectors are normalized by using a simple linear
Our focus is on the selection of the relevant parameters to build scaling method.
training vectors. For this purpose, a misfire fault topology of the
diesel engine is utilized as supporting method, which can be found
5. Results discussion
in Fig. 4.
When misfire happens, there will be no combustion inside
A misfire detection model for a turbocharged diesel engine is
certain cylinder. As a result, exhaust temperature will decrease up
developed by using Matlab neural network toolbox. The data vec-
front the turbocharger, which will weaken turbocharging effect
tors acquired from the experiment are used to train the proposed
accordingly. Furthermore, intake pressure will reduce and temper-
network and the target is the error under 0.001. The training pro-
ature after inter-cooler will decrease also. The power is lower than
cess compares the difference between the expected output and the
normal at this working condition, which will lead to speed or torque
actual value and then adjusts the weights and bias accordingly. The
change according to different speed governing rules and test
LevenbergeMarquardt algorithm is used as the training function,
method. By using all-speed governor under constant load, speed
which achieves faster convergence than the standard gradient
regulation will affect fuel consumption automatically. Coolant
descent. The MSE (Mean Square Error) function is used as follows:
temperature may also be affected by means of different wall tem-
perature of combustion chamber. According to this topology anal- m  2
1 X X
ysis, 6 measurable parameters which marked by triangles are mse ¼ tkj  ykj (4)
selected as the components of one data vector. The word ‘measur- mp j¼1
able’ also has the implication of future on-board diagnostics appli-
cation. From this point of view, load somehow is represented by fuel where m is the dimension of the output vector, p is the number of
consumption according to the general agreement that engine output training vector, tkj is the expected output and ykj is the actual
torque has direct relationship with fuel injected into cylinder. output. The training process can be found in Fig. 5.
As engine frequent running area is much concerned by most A (6:14:3) neural network has been trained and sequentially
people, the experimental points selected are 1200 r/min, 1600 r/ number in the bracket is node number of the different layers. A 3-
min and 1800 r/min. Load starts from 10% to 100% and the incre- variable vector is used as the output to illustrate the different diesel
ment is 10%. Some data samples can be found in Table 2. engine running mode shown in Table 3, which is very similar to a
By conducting the experiment, data vectors are collected which logic code. We then try to verify detecting ability of the trained
will be used for both network training and trained network network by randomly choosing some unknown samples, which

Table 2
Samples of the training vectors.

Mode Load N m Engine speed r/min Intake temp.  C Intake pressure Pa Exhaust temp.  C Coolant temp.  C Fuel consumption ml/30 s
Normal 219 1200 26.3 114,330 136.1 46.2 54.3
605 1600 29.5 136,590 242.4 49.7 165.4
907 1800 37.3 184,880 342.6 56.9 323.6
e e e e e e e
Misfire 161 1207 26.3 104,470 218.5 79.8 61.1
328 1607 38.4 123,880 323.7 61.2 151.2
505 1802 47.0 156,670 356.0 68.3 244.0
e e e e e e e
30 B. Liu et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 55 (2013) 26e32

Table 3
Output verification of the trained neural network.

Samples Mode Expected output Result

1 Normal 00 0 00 0
2 Normal 00 0 00 0
3 Misfire 00 1 10 0
4 Misfire 00 1 00 0
5 Misfire 00 1 00 1
e e e e

Fig. 8. Reformed neural network structure.

Fig. 6. Verification of the trained neural network.

have never been used to train the network. The training target is Fig. 9. Final detection result of engine misfire.
that mean square error is lower than 0.001.
Though the target error of the trained neural network has been
satisfied to the limitation, some mis-detection of misfire happens, engine is 30 to 25 r/min, while the speed variation during misfire
in other words, the unexpected output appears. We perform the can be 30 to 45 r/min. Since the in-cycle speed variation is
experiments for several times to check the coherence of detection different during the normal mode and misfire mode, it is necessary
results. It can be observed that the correct results are obtained all to add such information to the training samples so that the
the time in normal mode tests, whereas some results of misfire consistent detection results can be achieved. To capture the in-cycle
detection are wrong. This phenomenon is illustrated in Fig. 6. transient speed variation, a 6 CA crankshaft speed signal is used
Misfire happens at ten working points of different speed or load, with a fast data acquisition (a 7200 indexed points are recorded in a
mis-detection can be found at four points marked as 1 to 4. On cycle). The maximum speed variation is chosen as additional pa-
points 2 and 4, both normal and misfire detection are conducted at rameters in the new training vectors.
the same points. The result shows that normal condition can always By doing so, the new training process completes with a new (7:
be detected whereas misfire detection fails. Then we modify the 17: 3) network. In this paper, the hidden layer nodes number se-
structure of the network, the testing results are the same, still some lection follows the Kolmogorov’s theorem that the number of
mis-detection there. nodes in the hidden layer is at least 2n þ 1, where n is the number of
Furthermore, we attempt to modify the composition of the nodes in the input layer [25]. Furthermore, we tried an 18 nodes
input vectors, which are considered to be the important factor of an hidden layer, the calculation time (training epoch) nearly doubles.
applicable network. We notice the facts that misfire enlarge the in- The structure of the final trained network is shown in Fig. 8.
cycle speed variation, which can be found in Fig. 7. The normal in- Where the related coefficient for this structure is given as
cycle speed variation in a cycle at 1,800 r/min of the tested diesel follows:

Fig. 7. In-cycle speed variation of the diesel engine.

B. Liu et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 55 (2013) 26e32 31

2 3:5213 4:8750 0:5544 0:8299 1:9097 2:4279 0:1545 3

6 4:5884 1:6112 1:2458 1:4748 0:5429 1:4711 3:0866 7
6 2:0008 1:7572 2:0390 7
6 6:9278 3:9285 1:7816 3:9933 7
6 0:5465 4:8140 1:5123 1:5865 2:5452 7
6 0:8774 2:6951 7
6 4:1703 1:9027 4:8406 0:3128 7
6 1:1931 5:8853 0:9844 7
6 7
6 1:8864 4:6181 2:3704 2:1078 1:4218 5:0378 7:0262 7
6 7
6 0:3866 4:7409 4:1527 2:5837 0:7484 2:4170 1:0434 7
6 7
6 2:9838 5:6914 7:7995 2:9614 3:9323 1:3075 3:7094 7
6 7
W1 ¼ 6 4:5727 9:4191 4:3317 2:5104 2:8026 1:6005 3:9572 7
6 7
6 2:4107 7:9315 3:4993 1:5810 0:5416 2:9238 2:7702 7
6 7
6 2:1758 0:5748 4:0373 3:8032 2:8599 1:1183 3:0965 7
6 7
6 3:5180 3:7048 0:2910 2:4462 1:8892 1:8306 2:7855 7
6 7
6 4:1685 4:2161 3:2202 1:1822 4:3374 0:0968 0:4860 7
6 7
6 2:0372 4:8442 0:4199 1:9694 5:0028 2:1059 0:9123 7
6 7
6 4:4784 4:4651 2:1559 1:2861 0:0546 1:5613 5:3606 7
4 5
1:4775 1:5085 4:7292 1:8415 4:2392 0:1689 5:5366
3:7372 5:3950 3:3710 1:1015 3:2947 0:3986 1:2866

2 3 2 3
8:6045 0:1587 1:3272 0:4244 T
6 10:9784 7 6 0:7814 1:4990 1:5270 7
6 7 6 7
6 11:7350 7 6 1:5681 3:7671 0:4700 7
6 7 6 7
6 10:4534 7 6 0:3497 1:4734 0:4585 7
6 7 6 7
6 3:2319 7 6 3:3484 0:0722 1:4337 7
6 7 6 7
6 8:3685 7 6 2:4191 4:4793 3:5199 7
6 7 6 7
6 3:8744 7 6 0:8357 1:7996 0:7335 7
6 7 6 7 2 3
6 4:7688 7 6 7:1156 3:9248 5:9101 7 1:9693
6 7 6 7
b1 ¼ 6 7 W2 ¼ 6 7:0449 2:5392 7 4 5
6 3:2036 7 6 7:4189 7 b2 ¼ 1:0507
6 12:2126 7 6 0:4144 4:3115 4:8973 7 2:7384
6 7 6 7
6 12:7361 7 6 3:3416 0:8466 1:9428 7
6 7 6 7
6 2:0626 7 6 1:7141 2:0109 0:0430 7
6 7 6 7
6 3:7579 7 6 0:3280 0:3258 0:6232 7
6 7 6 7
6 1:2844 7 6 1:9623 0:8450 0:6934 7
6 7 6 7
6 4:5535 7 6 1:1814 4:5274 3:8487 7
6 7 6 7
4 2:0907 5 4 0:3445 0:0597 0:0891 5
2:0855 0:7272 0:4183 0:4669

Similar to the testing process shown in Fig. 6, the verification of on engine experiment performed on a test bench. Randomly, 80
the new trained network is conducted again. The detection of percent of the experimental data sets are used to train the network,
misfire and normal are all correct, no mis-detection happens and while the rest data sets are chosen randomly as the verification
the full detection results are shown in Fig. 9. The whole process inputs. The process demonstrates that the developed neural
shows that neural network can be successfully used in turbo- network model achieves its objectives. However, some mis-
charged diesel engine misfire detection. It also indicated that the detection may happen within the system error when information
compositions of the training vectors rather than the neural network in training vectors seems to be inadequate. As an important char-
structure are more helpful to achieve the correct output. acteristic of the engine misfire, in-cycle speed variation is investi-
gated and included in the new training vectors, which helps the
network to achieve the fully correct detection finally.
6. Conclusion
This study presents a misfire detection model for a turbocharged
diesel engine by utilizing artificial neural network model. A three-
This study is a part of the Diesel Engine Development Program
layer back propagation neural network model is built in Matlab/
sponsored by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
Neural Network Toolbox environment. Combined with a misfire
of the People’s Republic of China, and we are grateful for their
failure topology analysis and future on-board diagnostics consid-
financial support. Also, the authors would like to express their
eration, engine speed, intake temperature, boost pressure, exhaust
gratitude for the technical support received from Deutz AG Beijing
temperature, water temperature, and fuel consumption are
selected as the inputs to train the network. Outputs are three-
element column vectors to illustrate the engine running mode.
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