The thermodynamic characteristics of high efficiency, internal-combustion engines Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent advancements have demonstrated new combustion modes for internal combustion engines that exhibit low nitric oxide emissions and high thermal efficiencies. These new combustion modes involve various combinations of stratification, lean mixtures, high levels of EGR, multiple injections, variable valve timings, two fuels, and other such features. Although the exact combination of these features that provides the best design is not yet clear, the results (low emissions with high efficiencies) are of major interest. The current work is directed at determining some of the fundamental thermodynamic reasons for the relatively high efficiencies and to quantify these factors. Both the first and second laws are used in this assessment. An automotive engine (5.7 l) which included some of the features mentioned above (e.g., high compression ratios, lean mixtures, and high EGR) was evaluated using a thermodynamic cycle simulation. These features were examined for a moderate load (bmep = 900 kPa), moderate speed (2000 rpm) condition. By the use of lean operation, high EGR levels, high compression ratio and other features, the net indicated thermal efficiency increased from 37.0% to 53.9%. These increases are explained in a step-by-step fashion. The major reasons for these improvements include the higher compression ratio and the dilute charge (lean mixture, high EGR). The dilute charge resulted in lower temperatures which in turn resulted in lower heat loss. In addition, the lower temperatures resulted in higher ratios of the specific heats which account for a more effective conversion of thermal energy to work. Other thermodynamic features are described. 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Energy Conversion and Management

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Caton, J. A.

citation count

  • 77

complete list of authors

  • Caton, Jerald A

publication date

  • June 2012