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Minimizing Gasoline Direct Injection (GDi) Fuel System Pressure Pulsations by Robust Fuel Rail Design

Timothy D. Spegar
Delphi Corp.

Published 04/12/2011

Copyright 2011 SAE International doi:10.4271/2011-01-1225

Gasoline direct injection (GDi) engines have become popular due to their inherent potential for reduction of exhaust emissions and fuel consumption to meet increasingly stringent environmental standards. These engines require high-pressure fuel injection in order to improve the fuel atomization process and accelerate mixture preparation. To achieve a lower-cost system, a single-piston high-pressure fuel pump design is often employed due to its relative simplicity. However, pumps of this design are acknowledged as the source of high levels of fuel pressure fluctuations which can lead to audible noise, variations in the amount and spray quality of fuel delivery from cylinder to cylinder, compromised durability and consumer dissatisfaction. In this paper, the design process for a high-pressure fuel rail assembly using Robust Engineering methodology is presented. Using quasi-one-dimensional simulation, three control factors are studied in determining the optimal design for an in-line 3-cylinder engine fuel rail assembly which produces the lowest feasible levels of fuel pressure pulsations while maintaining robustness to various noise factors such as uncontrollable design parameters and operating requirements. Noise factors which were studied include fuel type and temperature, engine rpm, and fuel injection parameters.

then on to the injectors. To control the rate of fuel delivery, a flow control valve typically located as part of the high pressure pump is employed. Details of the control valve operation may be found in [1]. A pressure sensor located in the fuel rail monitors system pressure and provides feedback to the control valve to assist in maintaining the commanded nominal system pressure.

The primary components of a GDi fuel system are presented in Fig. 1. A low pressure lift pump delivers fuel from the fuel tank to the cam-driven high pressure pump which raises the fuel pressure to levels required for direct injection into the combustion chambers. Upon exiting the high pressure pump, fuel is delivered to the fuel rail via a high pressure line and

Figure 1. GDi fuel system

Because of its comparative simplicity, the high pressure pump is often of the single-piston type. However, the reciprocating motion of the piston can initiate pressure pulsations within both the low and high pressure sections of the GDi system. Potential direct consequences of these pulsations are structural failure of fuel system components and audible underhood noise. A possible secondary effect of fuel pressure pulsations is the increased cylinder-to-cylinder variation in fuel delivery since the amount of fuel delivered per injection depends on the fuel pressure present at the injector when the injector is energized. A popular means of limiting pressure pulsation levels in the fuel rail is to place a small-diameter orifice at the connection of the high pressure line to the fuel rail. Figure 2 presents experimental results comparing pressures at the pump exit and in the fuel rail in a GDi system. The highest pressure pulsations in this example result from the initiation of each pumping event and are present throughout the high pressure line but are absent from the fuel rail. The orifice prevents a rapid flow of fuel from entering the rail which would otherwise cause a large rail pressure pulsation.

pulsations and fuel delivery variation are methodically determined using a full factorial designed experiment, not at select operating conditions, but over wide ranges of operating conditions. An introduction to the design process is addressed immediately below while details pertinent to fuel system design are presented afterward.


Robust Technology Development has its origins in quality engineering. Early quality control practices consisted mainly of reducing product variation during the manufacturing process, or even after manufacturing via sorting activities. It was believed that quality control was manufacturing's responsibility, and the manufacturing of a product nearer to its specifications was equated to the product's quality and performance. Today, quality engineering has various meanings, but when referring to the methodologies of Dr. Genichi Taguchi, the term is identified as Quality Engineering (Taguchi Methods). According to Dr. Taguchi, Quality Engineering is a series of approaches to predict and prevent the troubles or problems that might occur in the market after a product is sold and used by the customer under various environmental conditions for the duration of the designed product life [3]. Such approaches obviously still involve the efforts of manufacturing, known as on-line Quality Engineering, however, off-line Quality Engineering focuses on the product and process development prior to manufacturing. Considering the above quotation, it is easy to realize that in order to develop a product that performs under various environmental conditions for the duration of the designed product life, on-line Quality Engineering is simply insufficient. Off-line Quality Engineering, specifically Parameter Design or Robust Engineering, is necessary to account for the assortment of environments to which the product will be exposed. Design processes nearly always consider extreme conditions for which the product must operate, however Robust Engineering provides a means of selecting the values of design parameters, or control factors, which help ensure product function under such uncontrollable conditions, or noise factors. In the case of product engineering, the Robust Engineering method considers the ideal function or response of the product to be optimized and assesses various configurations of control factor values by use of signal-to-noise (SN) ratio. Designs whose functional outputs vary greatly from their ideal behavior under extremes in noise factor levels are calculated to have lower SN ratios than designs which operate ideally and with minimal influence of noise factor

Figure 2. Pressure measurements (arbitrary units) in a GDi fuel system operating at 3000 erpm under high load at 10 MPa nominal system pressure. Hiraku, et al. have simulated the hydraulics of a single-piston pump and the high pressure side of a GDi system for a V6 engine configuration [2]. With a fixed high pressure volume, four different high pressure line configurations were evaluated at various engine speeds, pressures and fuel delivery rates. Though the presented results were not exhaustive, it was shown that high pressure line configuration did indeed affect pressure pulsation levels in the fuel rails. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that reducing the volume of the high pressure system increases both pressure pulsation levels and variation in fuel delivery among the injectors. The work presented here follows the spirit of Hiraku, et al. in optimization of a fuel system but with the added application of designed experiment and Robust Technology Development techniques. Design parameter values which decrease pressure

levels. Designs with higher SN ratios are designated as more robust to noise factors. Details of the Robust Engineering process specific to this work will be presented below.


Figure 3 shows the layout of the one-dimensional system model developed using AMESim 8.1.1 software by LMS Imagine SA. As can be perceived by the model layout, the system to be optimized is a for an inline 3-cylinder engine. The major sections of the model include the high pressure fuel pump, the system timing control and the high pressure fuel rail assembly. The high pressure fuel pump, depicted as a supercomponent or grouping of components, is not the focus of this work but details of a similar pump design are presented in [1]. The system timing supercomponent provides appropriately-timed signals to actuate the injectors and pump control valve as well as the cam lift signal for translating the pump plunger. In this model the pump cam, driven by an engine camshaft, has three lobes; thus each pump event provides enough fuel for one cylinder cycle. The high pressure fuel rail assembly consists of a fuel rail and injectors modeled using orifices and hydraulic lines of various levels of complexity, using models at least as complex as suggested by the software for the run conditions.

As will be described in a following section, two different fuels at two temperature extremes were represented in the model. Specifically, simulations used gasoline at 120 C and E25 at 40 C, both at nominal system pressures of 10 MPa, 15 MPa and 20 MPa. For a given composition and nominal temperature and pressure, the fuel was assumed to remain at constant temperature and was characterized by a fixed bulk modulus and viscosity. The software adjusts the fuel density to changes in pressure to ensure conservation of mass in the model consistent with the fixed bulk modulus assumption, but a reference density must still be supplied [4]. With the relative lack of fluid properties at elevated pressures and extreme temperatures, density and viscosity values were estimated at the nominal analysis conditions by using the physical properties calculation features of Aspen HYSYS 2006 software by AspenTech. Gasoline was modeled as a 70%/30% mixture by volume of iso-octane and toluene and E25 was modeled as a 75%/25% mixture by volume of the aforementioned gasoline surrogate and pure ethanol. Bulk modulus B, a measure of the lack of compressibility of a fluid, is defined as the reciprocal of the relative change in the fluid's volume with pressure:

(1) Isothermal bulk modulus, BT, is the reciprocal of the relative change in volume with pressure when the change occurs at constant temperature. Thus it is in theory straightforward to determine bulk modulus from knowledge of fluid P-V-T behavior. However, since rates of fluid expansion and compression typically seen in direct injection systems are high enough to preclude isothermal behavior (due to the lack of time required for heat transfer to keep the fluid at a constant temperature), expansion and compression processes are considered adiabatic or isentropic. Hence, values for isentropic bulk modulus, BS, are used in the simulations [5]. Using Eq. (1) with the results from in-house experiments with gasoline injections provided a means for calculating isentropic bulk modulus as a function of temperature and pressure. For ethanol, pressure and temperature dependent isothermal bulk modulus was deduced from property data from Takiguchi and Uematsu [6] and extrapolated to simulation pressures and temperatures. Using the fact that isentropic bulk modulus is the product of the isothermal bulk modulus and the fluid's specific heat ratio Cp/Cv, ethanol isentropic bulk modulus was approximated using an estimate value of 1.15 for the specific heat ratio [7]. Finally, isentropic bulk modulus values for E25 were calculated as a simple weighted average of the gasoline and pure ethanol values. The model is capable of simulating steady-state engine operating conditions specified by the following: engine rpm,

Figure 3. Fuel system model layout in simulation software.

nominal system pressure, number of injections per cycle (1 or 2), start-of-injection timing (SOI), injector pulse width (PW), pump cam timing, and fuel type and temperature. The effect of fuel type and temperature are represented by density, viscosity and bulk modulus model parameters. Model outputs are the time-varying pressure signals at the high pressure pump exit and the OEM fuel pressure sensor located midway between the second and third cylinder injectors in the fuel rail. Additionally, the model calculates the quantity of fuel injected by each injector per engine cycle.

ideal function is linear with the signal equal to the product of these variables. The slope of the ideal function is the proportionality constant and is not necessarily equal to unity as with the first ideal function.


Three ideal functions/responses were proposed for robust optimization of the system. The first, as seen in Fig. 4, focuses on reducing the level of pressure pulsations in the high pressure line at the pump exit and in the fuel rail as measured at the pressure sensor. Such an ideal function is dynamic in that the function applies over a range of operating values M or signals. When commanded to deliver a fuel pressure of M, a system behaving ideally with respect to this ideal function would produce a fixed fuel pressure y equal to the value of M. A real system produces a fluctuating pressure (Fig. 2) whose average level may not even be on target M. Real systems whose time-resolved pressure measurements are grouped closely to the ideal function under various noise conditions are more robust to noise than systems whose measurements are more scattered about the ideal function.

Figure 5. Ideal Function 2 The third ideal function (or more appropriately, response) is similar to the first in that the pressure fluctuations are addressed. In this case, the response to be evaluated is the shaded area under the curve of the pressure trace as in Fig. 6. Ideally, there is a single target value to meet, namely zero, corresponding to no fluctuations about the mean. This response is non-dynamic because there is only a single target value to achieve unlike dynamic ideal functions which have multiple target values to achieve based on signal value. In this analysis, a smaller area equates to a better system, hence the response is termed Smaller-the-Better.

Figure 4. Ideal Function 1 The second ideal function, seen in Fig. 5, more closely addresses the fuel system primary function, namely to deliver the correct amount of fuel to each engine cylinder with no cylinder-to-cylinder variation. In this case, the delivered fuel quantity is ideally proportional to injector pulse width and the square root of the pressure drop across the injector. Thus the

Figure 6. Response 3.

Using Ideal Function 2 provided nearly identical SN ratios for each treatment combination, thus there was no opportunity for optimization applying that technique. Further, conclusions drawn from Response 3 were the same as those from Ideal Function 1. Thus, only the detailed results of Ideal Function 1 will be presented in this work.

N1 corresponding to gasoline at 120 C, and N2 corresponding to E25 at 40 C. To determine the appropriate compounding of the remaining four noise factors, simulations of every combination of noise factor levels (4222=32) were performed using a nominal design of the system to be optimized. Simulations were run using gasoline at 20 C and a nominal system pressure of 15 MPa. As stated in the previous paragraph, the effects of temperature and fuel composition are already understood, so temperature and fuel composition were fixed for the noise experiment. Additionally, nominal system pressure was not included in the noise experiment. It is not a noise factor; for Ideal Function 1 it is the signal factor, for Ideal Function 2 it is part of the signal factor, and for Response 3 it is the target about which pressure fluctuations are minimized. After one engine cycle of simulation to allow for the solution to become stable, pump exit and rail pressure data were recorded for one cycle at an increment of 0.06 crank angle degrees (12001 points), a rate fast enough to capture the highest frequency content of the pressure data. Fuel delivered by each injector over one engine cycle was also recorded. To assess the average effect of each noise factor level, five metrics were employed: peak-to-peak pressure at the pump exit and rail, standard deviation of the pressure signal at the pump exit and rail, and average injector fuel delivery percent deviation from the mean. Figure 7 presents the main effect of each noise factor level on the standard deviation of the pressure signal in the fuel rail determined using Minitab 15 statistical software. Similar results with slightly different magnitudes are seen with pump exit pressure standard deviation and rail and pump exit peak-to-peak pressure. Perhaps the effect of total pulse width is the most straightforward to explain in Fig. 7. As more fuel is delivered per injection, there is a correspondingly larger decrease in the average pressure in the fuel system until more fuel is added by the next pump stroke. These larger oscillations in pressure yield a larger standard deviation in the both the pump exit and rail pressure signals. Concerning engine speed, pressure pulsation levels produced by each pumping event increase with engine speed since the time to pump a quantity of fuel into the high pressure fuel system is reduced resulting in a more abrupt pressure rise. The effect is significant in the pressure measured at the pump exit and is a major contributor to the large pressure pulses in the pressure traces which are to be presented below in the lower portion of Fig. 9. Referring to Fig. 7, the effect is also observed in the fuel rail pressure but is small in magnitude due to the presence of the orifice at the entrance of the fuel rail which prohibits higher-frequency pump-induced pulsations from propagating effectively into the fuel rail.

In the context of Robust Engineering, noise factors are variables which cause variation in a system's function but cannot (or are chosen not to) be controlled. In this analysis, noise factors related to system wear and aging (inner noise) and those related to system-to-system variation (betweenproduct noise) were not considered. Only outer noise factors, variables related to environmental and operating conditions, were addressed [8]. Table 1 lists the noise factors and their values considered in this study. Four pump cam timing angles were chosen 60 (crank angle) apart. Having three cam lobes per cycle, the next increment at 240 is equivalent to the 0 case. For simplicity, SOI timing was kept fixed at 18 ATDC just after the start of the intake stroke for single injection cases. For double injection cases, the first injection SOI remained at 18 ATDC while the second injection SOI was fixed at 18 ABDC just after the start of the compression stroke. The wide separation in SOI between two injections was chosen as an extreme case; if robustness could be achieved with this separation, robustness to smaller separation angles would likely be assured. Additionally, for double injection cases, the total injector pulse width was divided equally between the first and second injections. Note also that the total injector pulse width is not a noise factor when considering Ideal Function 2 but is actually part of the signal factor. Table 1. Noise factors and their values used for this study.

To avoid determining SN considering every conceivable combination of noise factor values, the noise factors can be compounded, meaning that only combinations of factor levels which provide extreme values of variation need to be addressed. For example, pressure pulsations are highest at cold temperatures and when the fuel contains a higher level of ethanol because both of these extremes yield a high fuel bulk modulus (which increases pulsation levels). Thus, in this simple example, only two noise levels need to be considered:

higher pressure pulsation levels do not always produce higher fuel delivery variations. This may arise if the pulsations are less pronounced during the injection events or if similar pressure profiles are present during each injection event, even if they vary considerably during the injection window.

Figure 7. Main effects of noise factor levels on standard deviation of fuel rail pressure (arbitrary units). Though it is inconclusive as to why specific cam timing angles of 0 and 60 produce lower values for pressure signal standard deviation, the following observations are offered. Under specific operating conditions, a pumping event and injection event may partially coincide, thus fuel is being added to and removed from the fuel rail simultaneously. This serves to reduce pressure changes associated with the net change in fuel stored in the fuel rail since the net change decreases with increased overlap of the pumping and injection events. Additionally, the lack of difference in pressure standard deviation with respect to the number of injection pulses is unclear. It is recognized that multiple injections do indeed occur under certain engine operating conditions. It was surmised that two separate injections may change pressure pulsations in the fuel system, particularly since the relative timing between pumping and injection events is changed, but the general effect was unknown. Thus the number of injections was included in the noise experiment to determine its average effect on pulsation levels. As seen in Fig.7, its effect was determined to be negligible on rail pressure standard deviation. Figure 8 shows the main effects on the deviation of fuel delivery from average. Though the results are mixed, cam maximum lift angles of 0 and 180 were chosen, respectively, as the levels driving low and high variation in pressure and fuel delivery. For engine speed, 6000 erpm yields higher variation, again in both pressure and fuel delivery, than 1000 erpm. Injecting fuel in two pulses versus one pulse has negligible effect on pressure variation, but contributes to fuel delivery variation, so two injection pulses were chosen when compounding for higher noise. Finally, total pulse width has a mixed effect, producing higher pressure variability and lower fuel delivery variability with increased injector pulse width. Thus, the choice of pulse width for compounding noise depends on the evaluation metric, or more importantly, the ideal function. Additionally, since the total pulse width and number of pulses have different effects on pressure and fuel delivery variation,

Figure 8. Main effects of noise factor levels on average relative deviation in fuel delivery (arbitrary units). To indicate visually the effects of the various noise factors and their levels, Fig. 9 presents the simulated pump exit pressure under the two different levels of compounded noise N1 and N2. In both cases, gasoline at 20 C is used as fuel and the nominal pressure is 15 MPa, but the noise factor levels have been compounded into the two combinations N1 and N2 which produce respectively the lowest and highest levels of variability in pressure, clearly observed in the two plots. Though not shown, adding the effects of fuel composition and temperature would tend to increase the pressure pulsation magnitudes for E25 and colder temperatures due to the increase in fuel bulk modulus with these variables. Additionally, if the simulation were performed at other pressures, pulsation magnitudes would be seen to decrease with lower nominal pressures and increase with higher nominal pressures attributable to the general increase in fuel bulk modulus with pressure.

inversely proportional to the system volume, keeping the volume constant provided assurance that pressure pulsation levels were more fairly compared than if the volume had changed. To assess the effect of the control factor levels, typically a fractional factorial of all the control factor level combinations is evaluated. For Robust Engineering, one is usually interested in the main effects of the control factors, so special fractional factorials which de-emphasize control factor interactions are employed [9]. However, given the small number of control factors in the present case, a full factorial experimental array with two levels for each factor was chosen, giving eight (23) different rail designs or treatment combinations from which a robust design could be determined. Furthermore, the results from the full factorial were studied using standard designed experiment analysis methods to conclude main effects of the control factors without regard for robustness. Such results were used to assist in deciding on final control factor levels when either level 1) produced no significant improvement in robustness, or 2) generated some unwanted system quality. Specific examples will be discussed afterward.


Figure 9. Effect of compounded noise levels N1 and N2 on pump exit pressure (arbitrary units). Case: 15 MPa nominal pressure with gasoline at 20 C.

To evaluate the robustness of the eight different rail designs with respect to Ideal Function 1, six simulations of each rail design were performed, namely, at compounded noise levels N1 and N 2 and at operating pressures of 10 MPa, 15 MPa and 20 MPa. The pressure history over one engine cycle at the pump exit and in the rail were recorded and used to calculate and SN for each treatment combination [3]. Table 2 summarizes the factors and their levels used in the simulations. Table 2. Factors and levels for Ideal Function 1.


The control factors chosen for study were all feature dimensions of the high pressure fuel system. Since the system was developed for an actual customer application with a prespecified design and strict packaging requirements, there were few choices for control factors. Nonetheless, three control factors were chosen which had been observed to affect pressure pulsation levels in other applications. For the sake of customer confidentiality, these factors will simply be referred to as A, B and C. Customer requirements dictated the fuel system volume, however some of the control factors affected system volume. One system parameter which was not chosen as a control factor was the rail conduit inside diameter. As various combinations of the control factors changed the volume, the rail inside diameter was adjusted to maintain a constant volume. The adjustments were deemed not to significantly alter pressure pulsation characteristics since the diameter adjustments were small relative to the nominal diameter, namely 5%, or correspondingly a 10 % change in rail cross section area. Additionally, since pressure pulsation levels are

For dynamic ideal functions like Ideal Function 1, the Parameter Design principle known as two-step optimization states that SN should be first maximized to minimize variation and then adjusted to match its target ideal value. In this case the target value of is exactly 1, corresponding to the simulated average pressure equated with the desired pressure. Since the model is set to run such that its average rail pressure is equal to the signal pressure, calculated values for the rail pressure should equal unity. Indeed, values for the eight designs were calculated to be almost exactly 1 for the rail pressure, while values ranging from 1.003 to 1.037 were calculated for the pump outlet pressure, the slightly greater-than-unity values resulting from the increased average pressure at the pump exit over the average rail pressure. The consequence is that only SN needs to be maximized in this case. To choose the control factor values which maximize SN, a response graph is created to visually convey the effect of each control factor on SN. Figure 10 presents the SN response graphs for Ideal Function 1. For each control factor level, the graph values are simply the average SN of the four treatment combinations containing each specific control factor level. Thus, the values represent the average effect of each level on SN. It is clear that factor A has the largest effect on robustness; on average, robustness increases by about 8 db when level a2 is selected over a1 when regarding pressure fluctuations at the pump exit. Factors B and C have much lesser effects, B having small but mixed effects between the pump exit and rail with c1 providing slightly more robustness than c2.


To evaluate the effects of the control factors on pressure pulsations and fuel delivery without regard to robustness, a process similar to that followed in the noise experiment was conducted. The following metrics were considered: maximum, peak-to-peak and standard deviation of pressure at the pump exit and in the rail, and relative fuel delivery variation among the three injectors. Figure 11 presents the main effects of each control factor level on the standard deviation of the rail pressure over one engine cycle considering pressures of 10 MPa, 15 MPa and 20 MPa and compounded noise levels N1 and N2. Only these results are offered since the effects have the same trends and similar relative magnitudes for each of the other metrics. Unlike with the robust analysis above, the effects of control factors B and C are similar in magnitude to the effect of control factor A.

Figure 11. Main effects of control factor levels on standard deviation of fuel rail pressure (arbitrary units).

Considering the analysis results of Ideal Function 1 in Fig. 10 alone, a higher level of robustness (larger SN) would be achieved over the initial design (comprised of control factors a1, b1 and c2) by choosing a design with a2. Since the main effects of B and C are small with regard to robustness, levels for B and C are chosen which to provide some other benefit to the design. Such examples include but are not limited to ease manufacturability, raw material cost and design complexity. However, the additional knowledge of the main effects of the control factors in Fig. 11 will be used here. Since the goal is to reduce pressure fluctuations (in this case represented as the pressure standard deviation), control factor levels which yield a lower standard deviation are preferred. Since b1 and c1 both reduce standard deviation appreciably without adversely affecting robustness, factors a2, b1 and c1 have been chosen for the optimized rail design. Figure 10. SN response graphs for Ideal Function 1. Previously it was stated that a fractional factorial of all the control factor level combinations is usually chosen for the

robust analysis. Such fractional factorials will, at the minimum, predict the main effects of the control factors, thus allowing the SN of any design to be predicted. If a confirmation run is performed on the aforementioned design and its SN gain matches the predicted SN gain with respect to the nominal design, then it is likely that interactions among experimental variables are minimal. This is desirable since it adds to the assurance that the optimized design is indeed the most robust. Using only the values of the main effects (the plotted values in Fig. 10), the predicted values of SN for the initial and optimized designs are shown in Table 3 under the Prediction 1 column [10]. The predicted 8.8 db improvement in SN for the pump exit was not confirmed by the 4.2 db increase seen in the confirmation run. However, the SN improvement considering the rail confirmed almost exactly. Absence of confirmation may be due to the existence of first order interactions among the main effects. For example, considering control factors A and B, the main effect of A is that a1 yields a higher standard deviation than a2 on average over all values of B. If the effect of A is independent of the value of B, there is no interaction between A and B. However, if the effect of A depends on the specific value of B, then there exists a first order interaction between A and B. When the control factor first order interactions are included in the prediction [11], the improvement in SN (Prediction 2 column) is confirmed at the pump exit. There was no corresponding improvement in prediction for the rail, though none was expected considering the level of confirmation using only main effects. Since only two levels for each control factor were investigated, nothing can be concluded about the main effects of other levels; at most linearity is assumed as in Fig. 10. If the main effects are indeed linear, then predictions can be performed on other designs whose control factor values are between or beyond the distinct values tested. To gain a sense of the degree of linearity, a centerpoint design was analyzed. In this design, the control factor levels are set to values equal to the average of the values chosen previously, i.e. at a point central to the values tested. The predicted SN should be the average of the SN values of the original eight designs. Table 3 shows the predicted and actual (confirmation) centerpoint SN values for the pump exit and rail. Since the predicted and actual values do not agree, there is evidence that SN may not be linearly dependent on the control factor values. Thus caution should be exercised when interpolating or extrapolating results to untested control factor values.

Table 3. Analysis confirmation data.

To illustrate the outcome of the optimization process, an example is presented in Figs. 12 and 13. Pump exit and rail pressures at the case of 15 MPa nominal pressure and 4 ms injector pulse width are shown at each compounded noise condition for the initial and optimized rail designs. Though not readily observed in the rail pressure, the reduction in pressure oscillation levels and maximum pressure achieved at the pump exit are easily recognized when the two designs are compared.

Figure 12. Predicted pump exit and rail pressure traces for the original rail design (arbitrary units). 15 MPa nominal pressure at 4 ms injector pulse width.

means to reduce variation in system function with noise. Further progress is possible through the evaluation of minor changes in control factor variables to determine if a local maximum in SN exists in slightly different designs. Additionally, other ideal functions may be considered in the anticipation that interactions would be weaker, thus improving the predictive capability toward other untested designs. Ideal Function 2 attempted to address the primary function of the fuel system, specifically to deliver equal amounts of fuel to each cylinder. But the analysis revealed that all variations of the design under consideration were equally robust with regard to fuel delivery, so no new information was attained. The system characteristic of an equal number of pump cam lobes and engine cylinders presents a similar pressure profile to each injector resulting in very little cylinder-to-cylinder variation in fuel delivery. Employing Ideal Function 2 to other system designs which do not have the same number of pump cam lobes and cylinders may yield insights into optimization of those designs. Results from Ideal Function 2 may exhibit weaker interactions since it addresses the primary fuel system function. Conversely, Ideal Functions 1 and 3 focus on the fuel pressure pulsations which are not intended fuel system characteristics but are symptoms of imperfect system performance, thus possibly explaining the presence of control factor interactions. Lastly, for fuel systems exhibiting fuel delivery variation, compensation for the effects of pressure pulsations and noise conditions may be achieved by independently adjusting each injector's pulse width to provide the same fuel delivery for each cylinder. However, this would require that the engine control system is capable detecting the imbalance and providing individual cylinder control. Such active compensation methods are employed, but in general a robust solution to such a problem would typically be less costly and easier to implement.

Figure 13. Predicted pump exit and rail pressure traces for the optimized rail design (arbitrary units - same scale as in Fig. 12). 15 MPa nominal pressure at 4 ms injector pulse width.

A method for the systematic design of a GDi fuel rail assembly has been presented. Considering the presence of fuel system pressure pulsations driven by a single-piston fuel pump which can lead to component failure, audible noise and/or variations in cylinder-to-cylinder fuel delivery, Robust Engineering techniques were employed to improve system performance. Details of the analysis process for a single ideal function were covered. Though issues of nonlinearity and interactions were encountered, gains of 4.2 db and 0.5 db in SN for the pump exit and rail pressure, respectively, were achieved. This corresponds to a 38% and 6% reduction in signal variation, respectively [11]. Also, peak pressures attained at the pump exit were lowered; in the example shown in Figs. 12 and 13, a reduction of about 40% was realized when operating at the higher noise condition. Such examples of improvement demonstrate the usefulness of the techniques presented here. Though it is possible to optimize the rail design using the results from standard designed experiments without regard for robustness, there would be no indication of the robustness of the optimized system. The robust methodology forces system evaluation at extreme noise conditions and provides a

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5. George, H. F. and Barber, A., What Is Bulk Modulus, and Why Is It Important?, Hydraulics & Pneumatics, July 2007. 6. Takiguchi, Y. and Uematsu, M., PVT Measurements of Liquid Ethanol in the Temperature Range from 310 to 363 K at Pressures up to 200 MPa, Int.l. J. of Thermophysics, 16(1):205-14, 1995, doi: 10.1007/BF01438971. 7. Totten, G. E., ed., Handbook of Hydraulic Fluid Technology, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, ISBN 0-8247-6022-0: 260-263, 2000. 8. Taguchi, G., Chowdhury, S., and Wu, Y., Taguchi's Quality Engineering Handbook, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, ISBN 978-0471413349: 319, 2005. 9. Taguchi, G. and Konishi, S., Orthogonal Arrays and Linear Graphs, American Supplier Institute, Inc., Allen Park, Michigan, ISBN 0-941243-01-X: ii-v, 1987. 10. Robust Engineering Expert Course: Week 1 Workshop Manual, ASI Consulting Group, LLC, Livonia Michigan: 2-16 - 2-24, 2005. 11. Robust Engineering: Week 1 Workshop Manual, ASI American Supplier Institute, Livonia Michigan: 168-70, 2001.

ABDC after bottom dead center B bulk modulus BS isentropic bulk modulus BT isothermal bulk modulus E25 25% ethanol / 75 % gasoline blend (nominal) erpm engine revolutions per minute GDi gasoline direct injection PW pulse width (injector) SN, S/N signal-to-noise ratio SOI start of injection

For additional information, please contact Timothy D. Spegar, Ph.D. at: Delphi Corporation Technical Center Rochester M/C 146.HEN.515 5500 West Henrietta Road West Henrietta, NY 14586-9701 USA

The author would like to extend special thanks to Craig Smith, Delphi Robust Engineering Coach, and Alan Wu of ASI Consulting Group for their assistance with all aspects of the Robust Engineering process.

A, B, C control factors ai, bi, ci individual control factor values ATDC after top dead center

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