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Observing and modeling nonlinear dynamics in an internal combustion engine

C.S. Daw
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge TN 37831-8088

M.B. Kennel
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla CA 92093-0402

C.E.A. Finney
University of Tennessee
Knoxville TN 37996-2210

F.T. Connolly
Ford Motor Company
Dearborn MI 48121-2053

We propose a low-dimensional, physically motivated, nonlinear map as a model for cyclic combustion variation in spark-ignited internal combustion engines. A key feature is the interaction between stochastic, small-scale fluctuations in engine parameters and nonlinear deterministic coupling between successive engine cycles. Residual cylinder gas from each cycle alters the in-cylinder fuel-air ratio and thus combustion efficiency in succeeding cycles. The model's simplicity allows rapid simulation of thousands of engine cycles, permitting statistical studies of cyclic-variation patterns and providing physical insight into this technologically important phenomenon. Using symbol statistics to characterize the noisy dynamics, we find good quantitative matches between our model and experimental time-series measurements.

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Daw CS, Kennel MB, Finney CEA, Connolly FT (1997). Observing and modeling nonlinear dynamics in an internal combustion engine. Physical Review E 57(3): 2811-2819.
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