PCRL News

"I know the price of success: Dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen." Frank Lloyd Wright

PCRL would like to share pertinent news items about its staff and activities with website visitors. We hope you will find these issues and opportunities interesting and relevant. For more information on any item, please contact the PCRL Webmaster.

- News Items -

Aaron Gander and John Moskwa recognized with Best Paper Award at DSCC/MOVIC Oct. 2012

March, 2013 - Aaron P. Gander and Professor John J. Moskwa have been recognized with a Best Paper Award for their paper Modeling Multi-Cyliner Intake Plenum Pressure In a Single-Cylinder Intake Plenum with Proportional and Poppet Valves Acting in Parallel. The paper was presented by Mr. Gander at the 2012 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL in October 2012. This work was from research in the Powertrain Control Research Laboratory (PCRL) on a single-cylinder engine transient test system that replicates a multi-cylinder engine dynamics. The paper presents a new design for the Intake Air Simulator (IAS) which has been previously patented, and requires far fewer valves as well as a much simpler processor and software.

The overall transient test system can significantly decrease engine development time and costs. This is accomplished by (a) moving many crucial engine development tests forward in time that previously required an entire multi-cylinder engine to be developed, and (b) to accurately replicate the dynamics of the multi-cylinder engine in a much simpler system. The result is that engine cylinder geometry and control design and development can be accurately addressed at a much earlier point in the engine development process, and developed to a much greater degree due to the ability of the system to replicate the dynamics of many critical systems.

The intake air simular replicates the instantaneous dynamic gas transfer process on the single-cylinder engine. This is extremely important not only for intake pressure draw-down, fueling, and A/F ratio control during start-up, but also has a very significant effect on in-cylinder charge motion during the closed period as well (i.e., swirl and tumble). If you don't get the open period dynamics correct (which is the case on most, if not all other single-cylinder engines), then charge motion during the closed period is probably also not correct, since they are coupled. That is, the wave and flow dynamics of the gas in the plenum, runners, and across the valves will strongly affect the gas motion within the cylinder even after the valve has closed, because they are directly correlated (i.e., the former creates the later). This is an area of continued research and development in PCRL.

Professor Moskwa gives keynote address at International Conference on Powertrain Modelling and Control

September, 2012 - Professor John J. Moskwa was invited to give the keynote address at the International Conference on Powertrain Modelling and Control (PMC2012) in Bradford, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The conference was held at the University of Bradford, and showcased research papers on combustion engine modelling, performance/driveability, ECU development, drive cycles, mapping and calibration, hardware-in-the-loop testing, fuel economy/energy recovery, electric drivetrains, hybrid powertrains, system identification, powertrain optimization, emission legislation, powertrain/engine testing, and driveline/transmission control. Authors/presenters came from many countries in Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, Great Britain, and the Middle East.

Professor Moskwa's presentation opened with quotations from Sir Isaac Newton as well as Ralph Waldo Emerson to get the audience to think about the wealth of undiscovered truth all around us, as well as how our perspective limits our seeing these truths, and relating these ideas to powertrain systems. In the body of the talk he shared two important technologies developed and patented by him and his students in his Powertrain Control Research Laboratory (PCRL) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Specifically, these are the Single-Cylinder Engine Transient Test System, and Cylinder-by-Cylinder Transient Engine Control Using Real Time Gas Dynamic Models and Observers. The conference was a great opportunity to share and discuss ideas, and to network with international colleagues from universities and corporations from several continents.

Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation - SAE International

April 2012 - The Society of Automotive Engineers, International (SAE) has awarded the 2011 Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation to Professor John J. Moskwa at the Awards Ceremony of the SAE 2012 World Congress in Detroit, Michigan.

  • "He's [Professor Moskwa is] the first university professor anywhere in the world to receive this award in its 34-year history." University of Michigan Michigan Engineer, Vol. XXIV, No. 2, Fall 2012
  • "This is SAE’s most prestigious award for automotive engineering innovation..." MIT Technology Review, Vol. 115, No. 5, Sept. 2012
  • "Judgment is based upon the value of the work as an original innovative contribution, not upon the application of some development or invention already known." SAE International press release, August 2012
  • " You are highly deserving of the award and my dad would have been very pleased that you were selected as the first University professor to receive it. The committee made a great choice." Dr. David E. Cole, Chairman Emeritus: Center for Automotive Research (CAR), and former Director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation (OSAT) at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)

The award, established in 1978, honors the memory of Edward N. Cole, former President and Chief Operating Officer of General Motors Corporation, and the inspiration he provided to others in the engineering profession by his continuing search and drive for product innovation. The award consists of a framed certificate, and a gold Atmos clock made by Jaeger-LeCoultre of Switzerland ("the Clock of Presidents"). Professor Moskwa is recognized for the innovative high bandwidth, hardware-in-the-loop engine transient test systems that he and his students have designed, patented, developed and built in his Powertrain Control Research Laboratory (PCRL) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A sampling of previous award recipients include David McLellan (Chief engineer, Chevy Corvette), Stuart Frey (General Manager & Chief Engineer, Ford Mustang), Paul MacCready (designer of the Gossamer Condor), Oliver Kelly (first automotive automatic transmission), Vernon Roosa (diesel fuel injector pump), George Mueller (Saturn V booster, Skylab, Space Shuttle) as well as many other very distinguished engineers. Many of the recipients of this award are also in the National Academy of Engineering, or are recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Professor Moskwa is especially grateful to PCRL sponsors, friends, and students for all of their hard work and contributions in his Powertrain Control Research Laboratory (PCRL). At the awards ceremony in the photo are (left to right) Dr. John Lahti, Professor Moskwa, and Dr. Jim Grady. Dr. Lahti was a Research Assistant in PCRL whose engineering work on this single-cylinder engine transient test system technology was key, and Dr. Grady is the Chairman of SAE's Edward N. Cole Award Committee. Several other PCRL students have collaborated on transient test system technology in PCRL over the years, but especially noteworthy, in addition to Dr. Lahti, are the contributions by Matthew Snyder (first Intake Air Simulator), Steven Seaney and Dr. Guy R. Babbitt (first high-bandwidth transient test system for multi-cylinder engines). Also noteworthy are the generous contributions in fluid power consultation by Professor Emeritus Frank J. Fronczak.

US Patent Issued for New PCRL Engine Heat Transfer Simulator

April 2009 - Patent #US 7,506,537 has been issued on March 24, 2009 by the US Patent and Trademark Office for an invention of a system that can both replicate the cylinder heat transfer conditions in a multi-cylinder engine on a single-cylinder test engine, and can perform rapid transients of these thermal conditions. This new system, which was invented and built in PCRL, controls the heat transfer profile around the cylinder by individually controlling both the temperture and flow of coolant in several segmented passages places around the periphery of the cylinder in a single-cylinder engine. Because of this individual control, the performance of any cylinder in the multi-cylinder engine can be replicated, including the different heat transfer characteristics that result from the cylinder placement in the block, and the coolant flow within the engine block. In the actualization of this patent, the heat transfer in the head of the single-cylinder engine is also individually controlled. This allows detailed experimentation of wall-wetting evaporization experiments to be conducted on the single-cylinder engine, as well as other transient heat transfer studies.

This invention is part of a sophisticated PCRL transient single-cylinder engine test system, where the boundary conditions of a multi-cylinder engine are replicated (see related patents listed below). This allows the single-cylinder engine to accurately replicate the detailed and transient operation of the multi-cylinder engine, and this opens up a large set of new experiments using the single-cylinder engine that up to this time were never possible. These include detailed and representative transient testing, hardware-in-the-loop systems to run FTP and other standardized emission tests on the single-cylinder engine, and the ability to get results that accurately replicate what would be measured on a multi-cylinder engine. These gains are made with this new system without losing any of the wonderful attributes of the single-cylinder engine that currently exist (i.e., very low cost, accessibility of instrumentation, flexibility, etc.).

These problems with the single-cylinder engine have plagued engine researchers for more than 50 years, and they have prevented wider use of this type of engine in engine development despite its attributes. These inventions provide unique solutions that have many advantages over approaches currently used in industry and academia. Members of PCRL continue to develop new systems that combine the attributes of the single-cylinder engine (low cost, flexibility, accessibility, etc.) while operating this engine with the dynamics and characteristics of the multi-cylinder engine.

US Patent Issued for New PCRL Engine Control Strategies

October, 2007 - Patent #US 7275426 has been issued on 10/2/2007 by the US Patent and Trademark Office for an invention of a new engine control strategy that uses real time gas dynamic models of the intake and exhaust processes, as well as rotational dynamic models of the engine. The inventors are John L. Lahti and John J. Moskwa. These researchers have been working on this strategy for several years in collaboration with General Motors Powertrain, and currently have an engine running in PCRL's DynoLab using this new technology. This strategy controls the engine's cylinders individually instead of the current methodology of controlling the engine based on engine-averaged measurements or estimates, and it therefore promises much better control of the engine during transients as well as at steady state conditions. This new strategy is especially attractive for use in variable cam timing or cam-less engines, as it uses the real time dynamic models to predict in-cylinder charge density and composition in order to control the engine. This model-based approach has much better performance than typical look-up table or neural net approaches, because details of the transients are estimated as the transients are occurring in the engine, instead of being based on averaged or steady state values collected from other engines or environments, as is the case with steady-state volumetric efficiency maps that are currently used.

This is an especially effective methodology to use in the control of HCCI engines, where control of individual cylinder charge and composition is vitally important to controlling combustion, and quickly transitioning into and out of the HCCI mode. This methodology estimates individual cylinder charge and composition, without lengthy look-up tables or other approaches that require significant calibration effort and cost.

There are also several significant secondary benefits to this new technology. The dynamic models that are used in operating the engine can also be used to do off-line optimization of calibration for this same particular engine, and to also identify various values needed in the engine calibration. This attribute can significantly reduce the engine calibration time and cost when using this technology, as well as provide more accurate results. These strategies were developed, tested, and validated using PCRL's transient testing facilities.

Professor Moskwa on National Research Council's Fuel Economy Committee

September 2007 - Professor John J. Moskwa has been invited, and has joined the National Research Council’s (NRC) Committee on Fuel Economy of Light Duty Vehicles. The NRC is one of our four United States National Academies in Washington DC (i.e., National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council). It has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and advises Congress and the President on science and technology. Dr. Moskwa’s role and contributions on the NRC committee will be related to engine, powertrain and vehicle system simulation. In extending the invitation to Professor Moskwa, Dr. Holmes states “Obviously there are many members of the committee that admire your work.”

US Patent Issued for PCRL Gas Dynamic Simulator

October 2006 - Patent #US 7124021 has been issued on 10/17/2006 by the US Patent and Trademark Office for the invention that simulates the gas exchange dynamics of a multi-cylinder engine on a single-cylinder engine. The inventors are John J. Moskwa, John L. Lahti, and Matthew W. Snyder of PCRL. The invention is a hardware-in-the-loop system that combines a single-cylinder engine runner with a unique double-walled plenum and vacuum chamber, high-speed pneumatic valving, pump, and multivariable controllers. The invention uses the pump, chamber and the valves to replicate the plenum pressure dynamics of a multi-cylinder engine, thereby providing the same cylinder intake characteristics as a multi-cylinder engine. The significant advantages this approach has over the typical approach of adding a large intake plenum is that the system can now simulate rapid transients, a multi-cylinder engine throttle body and mass airflow sensor can be used, and the system can also simulate intake geometries that include multiple, split, or variable plenum volumes. In these systems the plenum pressure is dynamically altered to increase engine volumetric efficiency, and replicating these plenum dynamics is not possible on current single-cylinder engine test equipment because these dynamics include the effects from the other cylinders. The resulting wave dynamics within the runner are physically preserved based on geometry, with the invention replicating the boundary conditions of the runner at the plenum.

This new system also has the capability of simulating the gas dynamics for turbocharged and supercharged engines, where the intake and exhaust dynamics are coupled. In these scenarios gas flow may be added to, subtracted from the plenum, or a combination of both in order to simulate plenum gas dynamics. This would again be a hardware-in-the-loop system where the turbocharger rotational dynamics and gas flows would be calculated in a real time dynamic model, the chamber and valving would control the respective manifold pressures, with a modulated restriction in the exhaust. The wave dynamics within the runners are again physically preserved, and only the boundary conditions at the runner entrance are controlled and simulated.

When this device is combined with PCRL's single-cylinder transient test system that simulates a multi-cylinder engine's rotational dynamics, the cylinder now believes it is in a multicylinder engine. Many of the tests that currently are not performed on the single because of its unique dynamics (i.e., very different than a multi-cylinder engine in many ways) can now be moved forward to the single-cylinder engine because the dynamics are the same. The current PCRL system can run representative FTP and other standardized transient tests that have not been possible on single-cylinder engines. These problems have plagued engine researchers for more than 50 years, and these inventions provide unique solutions that have many advantages over approaches currently used in industry and academia. Members of PCRL continue to develop new systems that combine the attributes of the single-cylinder engine (low cost, flexibility, accessibility, etc.) while operating this engine with the dynamics of the multi-cylinder engine.

Professor Moskwa Elected ASME Fellow

August, 2006 - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has elected Dr. Moskwa as a new Fellow of the Society. Dr. Moskwa's ASME Fellow citation is as follows:

"Dr. John J. Moskwa is internationally recognized for his technical contributions in powertrain system modeling, mutivariable engine control, engine diagnostics, and transient test systems. Through the Powertrain Control Research Laboratory (PCRL) that he founded at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he and his students have created many hardware-in-the-loop engine test systems with dynamic capabilities that are unmatched in other laboratories. The high bandwidth transient test systems that his group has designed and developed for both multi-cylinder and single-cylinder engines significantly decrease engine development time and cost while improving transient testing fidelity. Innovative and patented technologies for engine diagnostics, control, and testing have resulted from research carried out under his direction."

Professor Moskwa also wishes to gratefully acknowledge his present and former students, whose hard work and contributions in PCRL have made this award possible.

PCRL Faculty Develop MEES Engine Systems and Control Course

September, 2005 - Professor Moskwa has collaborated with two of his colleagues at Toyata Technical Center and GM Powertrain in developing a course in Engine Systems and Control that is offered as part of a web-based Masters degree in Engine Systems from UW-Madison. Dr. Kenneth Butts (Executive Engineer, Toyota Technical Center) and Dr. John Lahti (Senior Project Engineer, Hybrid Powertrain Controls, GM Powertrain), along with Dr. Moskwa, have combined their considerable experience and expertise in developing this course being offered by the University of Wisconsin's Engineering Professional Development (EPD) department. This in part of EPD's Master of Engineering in Engine Systems (MEES) degree program.

Professor Moskwa Elected SAE Fellow on SAE's 100th Anniversary

March, 2005 - The Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) has elected 19 SAE Fellows worldwide on the society's 100th anniversary, and this 2004-05 class of SAE Fellows received public recognition among their peers in ceremonies at the 2005 SAE World Congress, April 11-14, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Moskwa's SAE Fellow citation is as follows:

"Dr. Moskwa is recognized for his pioneering work in the development of high bandwidth transient engine test systems and for his research accomplishments in the areas of powertrain system dynamic modeling, diagnostics, and control. Under his stewardship, the Powertrain Control Research Laboratory research group, which he founded at the University of Wisconsin, has developed dynamic powertrain system models that are widely used throughout the world. Additionally, Dr. Moskwa inspires his students to maintain the highest levels of quality in their work and instills in them the intrinsic, fundamental connection between analysis and testing. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2003 Powertrain Excellence Award for 'PCRL’s Hardware-in-the-Loop, Transient, Single-Cylinder Engine Test System' and the 1992 SAE Teetor Award."

Professor Moskwa also wishes to gratefully acknowledge his present and former students, whose hard work and contributions in PCRL have made this award possible. You can review the 19 2004-05 class of SAE Fellows at: http://www.sae.org/news/releases/05fellows.htm

US Patent for PCRL Transient Test System

April 2004 - A broad patent on a new transient test system concept and design has been issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (US 6,708,557, March 23, 2004). The inventors are John J. Moskwa and John L. Lahti of PCRL, and they have been working on the development of this system for many years. The invention is a hardware-in-the-loop system that combines a single-cylinder engine, a unique high-bandwidth transient dynamometer, and detailed real time software that simulates a multi-cylinder engine. The result is a "virtual" multi-cylinder engine, with the rotational dynamics of this system replicating those of a multi-cylinder engine. This patent is a first in a program to reproduce the dynamics of a multi-cylinder engine onto a single-cylinder test engine, and to include the best attributes of both of these engines in one system. Other inventions and disclosures have been made which incorporate various dynamics of multi-cylinder operation into the single-cylinder engine, such as intake and exhaust gas dynamics, turbo- and super-charging, etc., and research is on-going in this program.

This new system offers many advantages over systems that are currently used by engineers and researchers in both academia and industry worldwide. Not only does this system open up new areas of research into engine transients while using a single-cylinder engine (operations that are not feasible or possible with systems currently used in industry and academia), the invention also allows many tasks or tests in the engine development process to be moved forward in time, significantly shortening the development process and reducing costs.

Currently most engine manufacturers are reducing or limiting their use of single-cylinder engines, because much of the development that is done on these engines cannot be carried over to the multi-cylinder engine due to their differences in operation. The new invention from PCRL causes these engines to operate in the same manner, so development on the single-cylinder engine can be carried over to the multi-cylinder engine. There is now a seamless transition between these two types of engines. Also, control and emission development can now be moved forward to the single_cylinder engine; tasks which are not at all possible with current systems because their operation is so different. More aspects of this research program and new attributes of this system will be presented at future technical meetings.

Powertrain Excellence Award - International Council for Powertrain Engineering and Management

October, 2003 - PCRL has won a very prestigious international award for work in designing and developing a unique new H-I-L transient test system for a single-cylinder engine. The award is the 2003 Global Powertrain Congress, Powertrain Excellence Award - Third Place (John J. Moskwa). Dr. John L. Lahti is the principal graduate student that worked on this technology in PCRL. This award is given once per year for the very best technology in powertrain systems worldwide. In the past years only two awards were given internationally, but "due to very close scores, this year we have extended to three prizes." An article on this virtual multi-cylinder engine technology was published in the summer 2003 edition of Powertrain International.

The award is given by the International Council for Powertrain Engineering and Management, which is comprised of CEOs and Technical Directors from the major manufacturers in the world (e.g., DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM, BMW, Jaguar, Ricardo, Bosch, Visteon, Delphi, etc.). This year BMW (Germany) won 2nd prize for their V12 Engine, and BorgWarner (USA) won 1st prize for their DualTronic Clutch technology.

What makes this year's award extra nice is that this is the second time members of PCRL have won this award. PCRL members John J. Moskwa, Guy R. Babbitt and Steven P. Seaney won the 2nd place Powertrain Excellence Award in 1998 for their multi-cylinder engine transient test system. We believe PCRL is the only group in the world to date that has won the award twice! Honda R&D (Japan) won 1st prize in 1998 for their ULEV emission control system and research.

Charles Stark Draper Innovative Practice Award - ASME

November, 2002 - Professor John J. Moskwa has been awarded the ASME Charles Stark Draper Innovative Practice Award. This award is given every other year by the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division "for either excellent sustained contributions or for an outstanding major, singular contribution in innovative applications of dynamic systems, measurement, or control in engineering practice."

The citation for this award reads "For his development of high bandwidth transient engine test systems using advanced electronics and hydrostatics that now allow engineers to accurately replicate actual dynamic engine and powertrain loads and thereby improve engine-powertrain designs."

The award is named after Charles Stark Draper, who is the founder of Draper Laboratories in Cambridge Massachusetts, and Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT. Doc Draper is know as the "father of inertial navigation". Among his many achievements, he led the team that developed the control strategies for the Lunar Lander or Lunar Excursion Module (L.E.M.), which was used on all of the lunar landings 1969-72. He was one of Time magazine's "Men of the Year" (lower left on the Time cover), and the photo at the right shows Charles Stark Draper (l.) with Werner von Braun and the Apollo Guidance Computer at Draper Laboratories (c. 1962). Professor Moskwa had the honor of personally meeting Doc Draper at Draper Labs in 1987, shortly before his death in 1990, while he was a PhD student at MIT.

Professor Moskwa had the honor of personally meeting Doc Draper at Draper Labs in 1987 (shortly before his death in 1990) while he was a PhD student at MIT. Professor Moskwa accepted the award at the 2002 ASME IMECE in New Orleans, LA in November, on behalf of his students that have made contributions to this programs. Recipents

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