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Technical Paper

More Leaders and Fewer Initiatives: Key Ideas for the Future of Engineering

Panel Discussions held at the SAE World Congress in both 2013 and 2014 observed that a shortage of good quality engineering talent formed a chronic and major challenge. (“Good quality” refers to applicants that would be shortlisted for interview.) While doubts have been expressed in some quarters, the shortage is confirmed by automotive sector employers and the Panel's view was that it was symptomatic of a range of issues, all of which have some bearing on the future of the profession. Initiatives to improve recruitment and retention have had varying degrees of success. Efforts need to be intensified in primary schools where negative perceptions develop and deepen. Schemes like AWIM that operate on a large scale and are designed to supplement school curricula should operate at an international level. Universities represent the entry point into the engineering profession and their role in the recruitment process as well as education and training is crucial.
Technical Paper

Starting and Developing an Engineering Career: The Barriers and Opportunities

There has probably never been such a demand for professionally qualified engineers, and yet both the number and diversity of people entering the profession continue to decline. Worldwide, there are very many initiatives - some generally encouraging interest in the profession, and others targeting specific audiences. The reports speak of local success, but the overall picture remains discouraging. In this paper we focus on the “pipeline” from primary education through to the transition from graduate engineer into an experienced member of engineering staff. We have based the discussion on both the presentations and comments made during a panel discussion held at the 2013 SAE International Congress. The paper is intended as a summary of the points raised during that discussion and, we hope proves to be starting point for further investigation and analysis. Of particular note is the sheer diversity of initiatives, and the pressing need for role models and mentoring.
Journal Article

Innovations In Experimental Techniques For The Development of Fuel Path Control In Diesel Engines

The recent development of diesel engine fuel injection systems has been dominated by how to manage the degrees of freedom that common rail multi-pulse systems now offer. A number of production engines already use four injection events while in research, work based on up to eight injection events has been reported. It is the degrees of freedom that lead to a novel experimental requirements. There is a potentially complex experimental program needed to simply understand how injection parameters influence the combustion process in steady state. Combustion behavior is not a continuum and as both injection and EGR rates are adjusted, distinct combustion modes emerge. Conventional calibration processes are severely challenged in the face of large number of degrees of freedom and as a consequence new development approaches are needed.
Technical Paper

The Potential for Thermo-Electric Devices in Passenger Vehicle Applications

The promise of thermo-electric (TE) technology in vehicles is a low maintenance solid state device for power generation. The Thermo-Electric Generator (TEG) will be located in the exhaust system and will make use of an energy flow between the warmer exhaust gas and the external environment. The potential to make use of an otherwise wasted flow of energy means that the overall system efficiency can be improved substantially. One of the barriers to a successful application of the technology is the device efficiency. The TE properties of even the most advanced materials are still not sufficient for a practical, cost effective device. However the rate of development is such that practical devices are likely to be available within the next fifteen years. In a previous paper [ 1 ], the potential for such a device was shown through an integrated vehicle simulation and TEG model.
Technical Paper

An Evaluation of Formula SAE in the Context of the UK Engineering Education: Culture, Money and Space

This paper presents the conclusions of a study into the way the Formula SAE project works in the UK academic sector. The motivation for the work arose during the introduction of the project at the University of Sussex when we needed to evaluate the cost effectiveness of the project as part of the engineering curriculum. The traditional view of FSAE in the UK was that it proved a valuable recruitment tool and when only a few universities offered the project to students this was clearly the case. However now that the project is more widely adopted and where smaller Departments are now supporting the project, there is a need to look more closely at the effectiveness of the project. Identification of the factors that make a successful entry has also helped in an evaluation of the resource requirements. The general conclusion from the work is that Departments must work to extract the benefits of the project through curriculum planning.
Technical Paper

Project-Based Learning in University Programmes: Getting the Best Out of Formula SAE

At Sussex our attempts to introduce Formula SAE were initially slow and the results disappointing. At the same time we were developing and introducing modules in our engineering programmes that were entirely project-based, and in one case, included only e-learning, (with no lectures) after an introductory briefing. Formula SAE made faltering progress whilst it remained a voluntary activity. Support of a voluntary group by means of individually assessed projects at both undergraduate and masters level simply led to a series of unconnected technologies, although they were to prove of value later. Project-based activity in engineering had three distinctive characteristics which were to form our approach to Formula SAE: the need for a strong team ethos from the start of the project; an acceptance of the importance of process, and in particular project planning; and strong communication.
Technical Paper

Developing Safe Software Solutions for X-By-Wire Applications

A promising technology for active safety is “X-by-Wire”, where mechanical and electromechanical components are replaced by electronic functions. One of the reasons for this is to have more than the driver input in the command chain, and also include some degree of intervention by the control system in case the driver behaviour is likely to put the car at risk. The adoption of a small number of computing nodes is a clear trend in vehicle design. A wide range of functions that are now distributed in the form of separate modules will instead be integrated. This approach will overcome the physical constraints of electrical and mechanical components and the costs of many separate electronic modules with their own power supplies.
Technical Paper

Integrating Formula SAE with the Engineering Curriculum

The Formula SAE competition (known as Formula Student in the UK) is well established and continues to be highly popular with engineering students. The annual United Kingdom competition bears witness to this enthusiasm with a strong turnout of a total of 84 teams, including 41 teams from the United Kingdom and 21 other nations represented in 2004. In 2004 some countries, including Japan, Australia and South Korea participated for the first time. There are, for a university, significant implications of resource costs when running the Formula SAE project, mainly financial and time. Time costs in particular are acute with supervision time from university faculty groups and technicians (this latter being particularly intense). This investment needs justification in the light of other demands.
Technical Paper

Modeling for Diesel Engine Control: The CPower Environment

Diesel engine control has already become complex, and in order to meet future emissions standards (such as Euro 4) it is likely to be the control system that will provide the needed performance increment. Common rail fuel injection offers yet more degrees of freedom which will need to be exploited as new emissions standards emerge. Whatever the emissions standards, there is a need to reduce risk at the earliest stages in the development of the powertrain. This will involve early and extensive simulation of the powertrain including its control system, sensors and actuators. What is the best way to achieve this using current tools? The result lies in a combination of a phenomenological model of the engine and a flexible controls environment. To illustrate the principles of developing prototype control systems, we will use the example of the CPower environment, which is a combination of a detailed engine simulation code (GT-Power) and the Simulink simulation environment.
Technical Paper

Some More Diesel Engine Sensors

The information needs of engines have increased dramatically over recent years. In order to achieve the levels of performance and endurance that are now required in the marketplace, engine operation increasingly employs sophisticated control with closed-loop operation of various functions. This control trend will continue as performance expectations increase, calibration times reduce and systems become more complex and dependent on a variety of sensors. Available and emerging technologies offer a range of solutions for sensor systems but success in any particular application is often difficult to analyze. This makes the prediction of future trends more difficult. This paper looks back at some recent developments and forward to the next few years. In addition to the sensors required, some consideration is also given to control systems, which have increased dramatically in sophistication.
Technical Paper

The Demands of Cylinder Event Control

In the context of engine control the strategy is a statement of the control functions. Modern strategies are generally map based with a resolution corresponding to single cylinder events. However, future needs point to high speed control based on sensors which can observe cylinder events. Such sensors working with actuators such as gasoline and diesel fuel injection can act to minimise variations between cylinders and more closely control combustion conditions. A high speed strategy is a functional description of control which includes such high speed functions One strategy can be solved using different control structures and with different sensor types. A cascaded control scheme for example would allow high speed cylinder level controls to be fed by slower controllers able to take a longer term view. Such a cascaded scheme is a framework which allows high level diagnosis and control objectives to be realised within a common framework.