PhD Studentship: Dynamic Modelling and Optimisation of the Next Generation of Downsized and Hybridised Gasoline Engines

University of Bath - Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre

New powertrains are composed of numerous new technologies that must work together to improve the efficiency of vehicles (electric drives, complex boosting systems, exhaust gas recirculation, variable engine breathing…). However, the biggest gains in efficiency are not likely to come simply from the technologies themselves, but from the optimised system level combination and control of these technologies. In addition, the largest benefits that will benefit cars on the road will come from undertaking this optimisation under dynamic operating conditions. To do this effectively requires novel methods for developing powertrains based on dynamic system level models of components and the use of optimisation algorithms. Consequently, there is a need to understand how powertrain technologies interact under transient operating conditions, to capture this behaviour in accurate mathematical models, and to propose an optimisation framework that can direct powertrain design tasks.

This PhD will contribute to addressing the above problem. The exact focus of the PhD will be defined through the first year of study but will cover one or more of the following topics: 

  • Experimental techniques for transient characterisation of engine and powertrain sub-systems. This will include novel test rig design, transient test planning to capture the underlying characteristics of real driving and transient data analysis including error analysis.
  • Physics based transient modelling of engine and powertrain. This will require assessing the state of the art for engine models and identifying where modelling improvements are required to enhance model accuracy and/or run time during transient events.
  • Powertrain architecture optimisation methods. This will create a new approach to optimising the layout and sizing of components within a downsized and electric hybrid gasoline powertrain taking into consideration both the physical behaviour of the system and the intended control strategy. This will also include mathematical techniques to reduce the calculation time of dynamic powertrain models.

The PhD can be highly experimental or modelling bias depending on the interests of the successful candidate.

This PhD will be aligned with the £2.5m Advanced Propulsion Centre funded DYNAMO project underway at the University of Bath. This project will be funding significant experimental activity at the University. DYNAMO brings to together a consortium of 3 Universities and 3 industrial partners led by Ford Technical Centre in the UK. The successful PhD applicant will be joining the research team at the University of Bath composed of 3 post-doctoral researchers, 2 research engineers and a 1 additional PhD student. The successful candidate will be expected to work with researchers and other PhD students at these partner institutions.

This PhD opportunity represents a fantastic opportunity to join one of our flagship projects as the Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre prepares to open its new Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) on the Bath and Bristol Science Park in 2020.

Applications are welcome from those who are interested in engines and powertrains, have an ability to work independently and have strong communication skills.

The studentship is for three years. It fully covers university tuition fees (at Home/EU level) and provides an annual tax-free stipend of £14,553 (2017/18 rate).

English language requirements must be met at the time of application to be considered for funding.

The successful applicant will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with a 1st or upper second-class Masters or Bachelors in Mechanical or Automotive engineering or a related and relevant subject

Preferred start: 1st  October 2018

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South West England