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Engine torque, power and mean piston

• Mean Piston Speed (MPS): The average speed of the piston over a full crankshaft rotation.
The mean piston speed is a major limiting factor in engine design due to mechanical and fluid
dynamic constraints. Modern engines of all sizes typically have maximum mean piston speeds
between 10 and 15 m/s:
MPS(m/s) = 2 * engine speed (rev/sec) * stroke (m)

• Torque: Engine torque, given in Newton Meters, is a measure of the engines ability to do
work. Torque is measured directly by a dynamometer, from which power is computed.

• Power: Engine power, given in kilowatts, is the rate at which the engine is capable of doing
work. It is a function only of torque and engine speed:

Power (kW) = 2 * π * engine speed(rev/sec) * torque(Nm)

• Antiquated Units: In the United States and some other technologically backwards countries,
the following units are still in use,
1 horsepower = 0.74570 kW
1 foot/second = 0.3048 meters/second
1 foot-pound = 1.35582 Joules = 1.35582 Nm
Mean Effective Pressure
• It is a valuable measure of an engine's capacity to do work
that is independent of engine displacement
• Indicates average pressure over a cycle in the combustion
chamber of the engine
• Useful for comparing engines of different displacements
• useful for initial design calculations: When given a torque, we
can use standard MEP values to estimate the required engine
displacement at the design stage of an engine
Mean Effective Pressure
Brake Mean Effective Pressure:
• The mean effective pressure calculated from dynamometer data and thus including all
internal frictional and mechanical losses.
Indicated Mean Effective Pressure:
• The mean effective pressure calculate from cylinder pressure vs. crank angle data obtained
from an indicator diagram during the compression and expansion strokes. The IMEP does not
include either frictional or pumping losses.
Pumping Mean Effective Pressure:
• The mean effective pressure calculated from an indicator diagram of the intake and exhaust
strokes. This number specifies how much of the engine torque is being used to pull in intake
and push out exhaust gases.
Frictional Mean Effective Pressure:
• This figure can be calculated either from motored engine tests or from a combination of
dynamometer and cylinder pressure data. It is indicative of the amount of engine torque
required to overcome friction and other mechanical losses.


Mean Effective Pressure
• The peak BMEP of an engine is a good indication of the
quality of design and level of development. Some typical
values for various classes of engines are:
Naturally aspirated spark ignited:
8 to 10 bar
Turbo-charged or supercharged SI engines:
12 to 17 bar
Naturally aspirated Diesel Engines:
7 to 9 bar
Turbo-charged Diesel Engines:
12 – 18 bar
Stationary natural gas engines:
14 – 18 bar
Mean Effective Pressure
Mean Effective Pressure (MEP):
• The engine MEP is a measure of how effectively the engine designer has utilized the available
displacement. It is obtained by dividing the work for a given cycle by the displaced volume of
the engine.

• The term Nrev = 1 for two stroke and 2 for four stroke.
To obtain the Mean Effective Pressure, the work per cycle is divided by the displaced volume.
This results in a figure expressed in force per unit area, thus the term mean effective pressure.

• The MEP is typically expressed in kPa, bar, or atmospheres:

• 1 bar = 100,000 Pa
• 1 kPa = 1,000 Pa
• 1 ATM = 101,300 Pa
Thermal Efficiency and Fuel
The thermodynamic efficiency of an engine can be described in a number of ways, each of
which is a measure of how efficiently the engine has converted the available fuel energy into
useable work. The energy considered available for doing work is the product of the fuel flow
rate (kg/sec) and the lower heating value of the fuel.

• Lower Heating Value (Qlhv): the lower heating value of the fuel is the amount of heat
released if the fuel is burned at standard conditions and the resulting products are all in
gaseous form. Some typical lower heat values are:
Gasoline: 44 MJ/kg
Natural gas: 50 MJ/kg
Diesel fuel: 43 MJ/kg
Hydrogen: 120 MJ/kg
Propane: 46 MJ/kg

• Thermal Efficiency or Fuel Conversion Efficiency: the ratio of the power developed by the
engine and the flow rate of fuel energy into the engine:
Thermal Efficiency and Fuel
• It is often convenient to use the brake specific fuel consumption rather than thermal
efficiency. The specific fuel consumption is the ratio between the fuel flow rate and
the power output and is typically given in grams/kilowatt*hr.

• Diesel engines usually have both a higher peak thermal efficiency and have a more
consistent efficiency over their load speed range.
Typical Diesel Engines:
bsfc ≈ 200-250 g/kw*hr
ηf ≈ 35% – 45%
• Spark Ignited engines have a lower peak and have significantly worse efficiency at
low load (where they spend most of their time)
Typical Spark Ignited Engines:
bsfc ≈ 280 – 500 g/kw*hr
ηf ≈ 15% - 30%
Volumetric Efficiency
• In many ways, an I.C. engine can be considered as a large air pump, the more air that
passes through the engine, the more fuel can be injected and the more power the engine
will produce. For this reason, the air flow through the engine is of the utmost importance.
• The Volumetric Efficiency of the engine is a measure of how effectively the engine pumps
air. This includes losses through the throttle body, intake runners, valves, etc. The maximum
air flow rate that can be expected (without intake tuning or charging) is the engine
displacement multiplied by the ambient air density:

• For example, for a 2 liter automotive engine at 5000 rpm at sea level:
Volumetric Efficiency
• The volumetric efficiency is the ratio between
the measured air flow rate and this ideal
maximum flow rate.
The most important operating parameter controlling performance of both spark
ignited and Diesel engines is the ratio of air mass flow rate to fuel mass flow rate.
There are a number of ways of expressing this ratio:
• Air/Fuel ratio: This is simply the mass flow rate of air divided by the mass flow rate
of fuel. Petrol engines typical run between 12 and 18 kg of air per kg of fuel. Diesel
engines operate over a much wider range of 18 to 70 kg of air per kg of fuel.
• Stoichiometric Air/Fuel ratio: When there is just enough air present to
theoretically convert all of the fuel to final combustion products (CO2, water), the
air/fuel ratio is considered to be ‘stoichiometric’. For petrol this value is typically
14.6 to 14.7.
• Lambda or Relative Air/Fuel Ratio: Spark ignited engine manufacturers typically
use the ratio of the actual air/fuel ratio to the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio when
discussing engine stoichiometry.
• The vast majority of spark-ignited automotive engines operate ‘stoichiometric’, that is,
with lambda = 1.0 at most conditions. This varies somewhat during start-up and in
transient periods (i.e. heavy acceleration). If an engine is run with more air than is
required, it is said to be running ‘lean’. If not enough air is present to burn all the fuel,
it is said to be running rich:
Stoichiometric: λ = 1.0
Lean: λ > 1.0
Rich: λ < 1.0
• Most heavy duty and stationary spark ignited engines run ‘lean’, with lambda equal to
1.7 to 2.3.
• Diesel engine manufactures typically communicate in terms of ‘equivalence ratio’
which is simply the inverse of relative air/fuel ratio:

• Diesel engines typically operate between an equivalence ratio of 0.2 and 0.8.
Lecture Summary
Upon completion of this topic you should understand:
• Engine configuration and components
– Differences between various engine layouts, and their relative merits
• E.g Inline, V, Boxer, etc.
– Understand the main components in an IC engine
• Crankshaft, piston, conrod, poppet valve, cylinder block, etc
• The four-stroke cycle
– Basic processes
– Have descriptive understanding of valve timing, spark timing, etc.
• Cylinder geometry and piston motion
– Piston motion isn’t simple harmonic motion!
– Identify key formulae for piston motion
• Engine torque, power and mean piston speed
– Understand basic definitions, and applications
Lecture Summary
Upon completion of this topic you should understand:
• Mean effective pressure
– “Equivalent” pressure on piston driving it around a full cycle
• Thermal, mechanical, and volumetric efficiency
– Understand basic definitions, and applications
• Engine and vehicle emissions
– This was basic info – more info at a later lecture
• Stoichiometry
– Same again – more info to come
– Understand difference between lean, rich and stoichiometric
• Spark ignited and Diesel engine fuel consumption
– Note & understand differences in fuel consumption