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Diesel Internal Combustion Engine

A flow analysis of an internal combustion engine, which was done for a diesel engine company using
the moving and deforming (MDM) model in FLUENT, is described in this example. The complex
geometry, coupled with the complex nature of the motion, in which the valves and piston move, make
this a challenging problem to solve. The MDM model is well suited to the task, however, because it
works in an unstructured mesh environment, and has three algorithms for rebuilding the mesh with
each new position of the moving parts.

In this example, then reconstructs the

FLUENT's moving and mesh, employing one, or a
deforming mesh (MDM) combination of two or
model is used to simulate three of the three available
the performance of an remeshing techniques or
internal combustion (IC) schemes: dynamic
engine. A cold flow layering, spring
analysis is performed for smoothing, and local re-
this purpose. Cold flow meshing.
simulations for IC engines
can provide valuable The geometry of the diesel
design information to engine components, along
engineers. These with a surface grid, is
simulations allow for the shown in Figure 1. The
effect on volume efficiency Figure 1: The cylinder (red) and intake (blue) and cylinder, with the piston
exhaust (yellow) runners of the diesel engine
and/or swirl and tumble out of view in the bottom-
characteristics to be model more flexible, it is based most location, is shown in
predicted based on changes in port on an unstructured mesh
and combustion chamber design, framework. This allows an
valve lift timing, or other unprecedented capability to
parameters. perform simulations of internal
combustion engines, with the
An analysis of an IC engine speed and ease-of-use
presents some of the most traditionally associated with
challenging problems faced by FLUENT products.
engineers in the automotive
industry, because the simulations The MDM model in FLUENT 6
need to address the moving parts requires the user to provide an
in an appropriate manner. The initial mesh along with a
MDM model in FLUENT 6 is specification of the motion of the
uniquely suited to this task, moving parts. In the case of the IC
because as the parts move into a engine, the prescribed motions of
new position at each timestep of the valves and piston are required.
Figure 2: The cylinder, with the piston at bottom
the calculation, the grid is The solver automatically moves dead center, showing the cell layering (gray) that
automatically rebuilt. To make the the components accordingly, and results from the piston motion

Copyright © 2002 Fluent Inc. EX178 • Page 1 of 2

Figure 4: The intake runner, showing the layers 6.0's mesh preview conditions were supplied at the
feature can be
of cells (pink) that are built as the valve moves intake and exhaust runner
invoked. The mesh boundaries. It was assumed that
preview feature the air was compressible. The
allows the user to standard k-ε model was employed.
cycle only the mesh As an example of the results
through its full range obtained, a series of snapshots of
of motion without the velocity magnitude contours on a
calculation of flow plane cut through the center of the
physics. This combustion chamber is shown for
provides a quick a complete cycle in Figure 4.
visualization and
mesh integrity check In summary, the MDM model in
prior to the FLUENT model has been used to
red. The intake runner (blue) is on submission of the more CPU simulate transient IC engine
the left, and the exhaust runner intensive flow calculation. Due to performance. The model is easy to
(yellow) is on the right. To define the inherent cost associated with use, which makes the set-up and
the mesh motion, the rigid body transient simulations, the overall solution process straightforward.
motion of the intake and exhaust mesh count throughout the cycle The model provides an
valves, as well as that of the is of concern. In this case the unprecedented opportunity for
piston, are described using resulting mesh varied from engineers to examine the transient
profiles or user-defined functions 262,000 elements at top dead flow patterns, including
(UDFs). These profiles or UDFs center to 375,000 elements at combustion, inside the cylinder
prescribe the geometric bottom dead center. during the engine cycle.
translation of the moving wall
zones as a function of time or In the cold flow calculation that
engine crank angle. was performed, pressure boundary

To minimize the cell count and

ensure proper resolution of the
flow, dynamic layering is used as
the valves and piston move. In
Figure 2, layers of prisms (grey)
are built as the piston drops to the
bottom dead center position. In
the remainder of the domain,
including the intake and exhaust
runners, a tetrahedral mesh is
utilized, and in these regions,
FLUENT does both spring
smoothing and local re-meshing
to dynamically alter the mesh
throughout the engine cycle. In
Figure 3, the layers of mesh, built
as the valve begins its motion, are
shown in pink.

Once the mesh motion and Figure 5: Contours of velocity magnitude on a slice through the
schemes are defined, FLUENT center of the cylinder at nine times during the engine cycle

Copyright © 2002 Fluent Inc. EX178 • Page 2 of 2