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Technical Paper

Numerical Optimization of the Fuel Mixing Process in a Direct-Injection Gasoline Engine

The spray formation and mixing processes in a direct-injection gasoline engine are examined by using a sophisticated air flow calculation model and an original spray model. The spray model for a spiral injector can evaluate the droplet size and spatial distribution under a wide range of parameters such as the initial cone angle, back pressure and injection pressure. This model also includes the droplet breakup process due to wall impingement. The arbitrary constants used in the spray model are derived theoretically without using any experimental data. Fuel vapor distributions just before ignition and combustion processes are analyzed for both homogeneous and stratified charge conditions.
Technical Paper

Development and Application of a Shape-Topology Optimization System Using a Homogenization Method

The shape and topology optimization method using a homogenization method is a powerful design tool because it can treat topological changes of a design domain. This method was originally developed in 1988 [1] and have been studied by many researchers. However, their scope of application in real vehicle design works has been limited where a design domain and boundary conditions are very complicated. The authors have developed a powerful optimization system by adopting a general purpose finite element analysis code. A method for treating vibration problems is also discussed. A new objective function corresponding to a multi-eigenvalue optimization problem is suggested. An improved optimization algorithm is then applied to solve the problem. Applications of the optimization system to design the body and the parts of a solar car are presented.
Technical Paper

Optimum Design Method for Hydraulic Engine Mounts

Hydraulic engine mounts(HEM) are replacing conventional rubber mounts to provide better ride quality and to reduce noise. However, detailed analysis of the HEM is needed to predict ideal performance conditions. In this study, the optimum design of a HEM is modelled using design optimization theory for a dynamic absorber. After determining ideal behavior by simulation, an experimental mounts is designed and tested to verify the model.
Technical Paper

Development of a New Multi-Link Rear Suspension

Nissan is installing a newly developed multi-link rear suspension in its new 240SX model. This suspension achieves maximum improvement in handling and stability through unique toe control, enhanced dynamic geometry and optimized alignment. The incorporation of attitude control also works to provide flat ride characteristics by greatly mitigating jacking up and squatting motions. This paper discusses the development objectives, results of CAD/CAE analyses and experimental data obtained in tests of the new suspension installed in the 240SX.
Technical Paper

Optimization of the Heat Flow Distribution in the Engine Compartment

The use of higher output engines and more auxiliary units is resulting in greater heat generation in the engine compartment. At the same time, design trends and demands for improved aerodynamic performance are diminishing the cooling air flow rate. These two sets of factors are making the thermal environment in the engine compartment more severe. In this work, heat flow in the engine compartment was investigated by numerical analysis and flow visualization, and flow control devices were devised for optimizing the temperature distribution. This paper discusses the heat flow optimization techniques and presents the results obtained in experiments with an actual vehicle.
Technical Paper

Development of an Engine Mount Optimization Method Using Modal Parameters

The purpose of this study was to develop a simple optimization method for use in designing vibration insulators. With this method, stiffness, location and inclination of each insulator are used as design parameters. A performance index consisting of vehicle modal parameters expressed as eigenvalues and eigenvectors has been constructed to evaluate low-frequency idle/shake performance and higher frequency vibration performance involving road/engine inputs. Using this performance index and the sensitivity of the modal parameters, a designer can easily find a suitable direction for optimizing mount performance and thereby obtain a stable solution. The new method was employed to optimize an engine mount system. Experimental data obtained on the system validated the accuracy of the calculated results and showed an improvement in idle/shake performance. This method is a useful tool in designing optimum vibration insulators.
Technical Paper

Optimization Analysis for Vehicle Vibration mode Control

The occurrence of various vibrations and noises in an automobile, such as idling vibration, boom noise and road noise, is greatly affected by the natural vibration modes and could be developed for controlling the body strength and weight these problems could be solved and a high-performance vehicle realised. This paper presents an analytical method developed by the authors to solve these problems and gives examples of its application. In developing this method, the problems of natural vibration mode and static stiffness control were addressed. Perturbation and sensitivity analysis methods have already been proposed for mode control. Four typical methods were examined and the best one was chosen in terms of accuracy and calculation time when handling large-scale problems. For static sensitivity analysis, we proposed a nevi method which is like natural mode sensitivity analysis.
Technical Paper

Development of Non-Rotating Steering Wheel-Switch

The expanded application of automotive electronics in recent years has increased the number of control switches, thus necessitating the optimization of their layout around the driver and improvement in operability. As an effective means in improving operability, switches mounted on the steering wheel have been developed, placing controls closer to drivers for easier access while driving. However, since the switches rotate along with the steering wheel, recognition and operation of those switches left a few things to be desired. Recently we developed a "steering wheel with a non-rotating center switch pad" where the pad section with the switches are kept stationary. In this paper we describe the general outline of this development.
Technical Paper

A Simple Engine Model for Idle Speed Control

This paper describes a simple engine model at idling and it applies particularly to idle speed control. Through linearization in the neighborhood of the nominal operating points (650 rpm), the engine is expressed as a reduced-order constant coefficient state variable (2 state) model. It was produced through the system order-reduction method. The strategy for controlling idle speed uses the Linear Quadratic and Integral (LQI) optimal control theory. The tracking controller was designed using a state variable engine model, and the performance index was minimized. Since state variables are artificially introduced, they are not directly accessible. Therefore, they must be estimated in accordance with a stored dynamic model (i.e. observer), in which the engine dynamic behavior is estimated on the basis of a state variable model which represents the engine's internal states, in determining controlling values.
Technical Paper

Spot-weld Layout Optimization for Body Stiffness by Topology Optimization

In general, the improvement of vehicle body stiffness involves a trade-off with the body weight. The objective of this research is to derive the lightest-weight solution from the original vehicle model by finding the optimized spot-weld layout and body panel thickness, while keeping the body stiffness and number of spot welds constant. As the first step, a method of deriving the optimal layout of spot welds for maximizing body stiffness was developed by applying the topology optimization method. While this method is generally used in shape optimization of continuous solid structures, it was applied to discontinuous spot-weld positions in this work. As a result, the effect of the spot-weld layout on body stiffness was clarified. In the case of the body used for this research, body stiffness was improved by about 10% with respect to torsion and vertical and lateral bending.
Technical Paper

Development of a Prediction Method for Passenger Vehicle Aerodynamic Lift using CFD

Increasing expectations for stability at high speed call for the improvement of cars' aerodynamic performance, in particular lift reduction. However, due to styling constraints, traditional spoilers must be avoided and replaced by other solutions like underfloor components. Flow simulation is expected to be a useful tool for lift prediction, but the conventional models used so far did not represent complex geometry details such as the engine compartment and underfloor, and accuracy was insufficient. In the present study, a full vehicle simulation model, including the engine compartment and underfloor details, was used. Other improvements were also made such as optimization of the computational grid and the setting of boundary conditions for reproducing wind tunnel experiments or actual driving, making it possible to predict lift variations due to vehicle geometry changes.
Technical Paper


At Nissan we have developed a new parallel hybrid system for rear-wheel-drive hybrid vehicles. As the main components of the hybrid system, both the motor and the inverter have been developed and are manufactured in house to attain high power density for providing responsive acceleration, a quiet EV drive mode and improved fuel economy. Because the motor is located between the engine and the transmission, it had to be shortened to be within the length allowed for the powertrain. Therefore, new technologies have been developed such as high-density, square-shaped windings and an optimized magnetic circuit specially designed for concentrated winding motors. The inverter is sized to a 12V battery, which it replaces in the engine compartment. Despite its compact size, the inverter must have rather large current capacity to drive a high-power motor. Heat management is critical to the design of a small but high-power inverter.
Technical Paper

Development of the Aerodynamics of the New Nissan Murano

The new Murano was developed with special emphasis on improving aerodynamics in order to achieve fuel economy superior to that of competitor models. This paper describes the measures developed to attain a drag coefficient (CD) that is overwhelmingly lower than that of other similar models. Special attention was paid to optimizing the rear end shape so as to minimize rear end drag, which contributes markedly to the CD of sport utility vehicles (SUVs). A lower grille shutter was adopted from the early stage of the development process. When open, the shutter allows sufficient inward airflow to ensure satisfactory engine cooling; when closed, the blocked airflow is actively directed upward over the body. The final rear end shape was tuned so as to obtain the maximum aerodynamic benefit from this airflow. In addition, a large front spoiler was adopted to suppress airflow toward the underbody as much as possible.
Technical Paper

Development of a Small Pitch Silent Chain for a Single-Stage Cam Drive System

In contrast to the conventional two-stage cam drive system with a 9.52- mm pitch roller chain, a newly developed silent chain with a 6.35-mm pitch has made it possible to achieve a single-stage system. One traditional drawback of silent chains has been wear elongation. In developing the new chain, reliability was substantially improved by identifying the factors causing wear elongation and their effects and also by optimizing the characteristics of the chain components. The application of this single-stage cam drive system to the new QG engine series has resulted in reduced chain noise, a more compact cylinder head and significant weight savings due to the smaller part count and other improvements.
Technical Paper

Feasibility Study of a New Optimization Technique for the Vehicle Body Structure in the Initial Phase of the Design Process

This paper proposes a new hierarchical optimization technique for the vehicle body structure, by combining topology optimization and shape optimization based on the traction method. With the proposed approach, topology optimization is first performed on the overall allowable design domain in 3D. The surface is extracted from the optimization result and converted to a thin shell structure. Shape optimization based on the traction method is then applied to obtain an overall optimal body shape. In the shape optimization process, iterative calculations are performed in the course of consolidating parts by deleting those whose contribution is small. The result obtained by applying this method to the front frame structure of a vehicle is explained. The resultant optimal shape has stiffness greater than or equal to the original structure and is 35% lighter. This confirms the validity of the proposed technique. It was found, however, that some issues remain to be addressed.
Technical Paper

Development of a New HC-Adsorption Three-Way Catalyst System for Partial-ZEV Performance

This paper describes a newly developed HC-adsorption three-way catalyst and adsorption system that reduce cold-start HC emissions with high efficiency. This system is the first of its kind anywhere in the world to be implemented on production vehicles. An overview is given of the various improvements made to achieve higher cold-start HC conversion efficiency. Improvement of conversion performance was accomplished by (1) increasing the thermal stability of the HC adsorbent, (2) improving desorbed HC conversion efficiency and durability and (3) optimizing the geometric surface area (GSA) of the substrate. Concretely, the thermal stability of the adsorbent was improved by enhancing the high-temperature durability of zeolite. Improvement of desorbed HC conversion efficiency was accomplished by improving the OSC material so as to match the temperature rise characteristic and usage temperature of the catalyst.
Technical Paper

Restraint System Optimization for Dual Test Configurations of Frontal Crashes

The numerical relations between occupant restraint systems and injury indexes were investigated by multi-parameter optimization of an integrated restraint system model of frontal crash simulations. This paper proposes a method of optimizing restraint systems in two types of test configurations: a 35-mph full overlap crash model and a 40-mph 40%-offset crash model.
Technical Paper

Multi-parameter, Multi-objective Optimization of Injury Indexes of Vehicle Crash Models

This paper presents a method for optimizing occupant restraint system parameters in vehicle frontal crashes. Simulation models incorporating restraint systems and dummies are used for predicting injury indexes. A full-scale survey of all of the design parameters related to the injury indexes would require a vast number of simulations. Therefore, the Design of Experiments (DOE) method involving a minimum number of experiments is more realistic. However, dummy behavior often shows discontinuity if the dummy comes in contact with the steering wheel, so it is not predicted well with usual DOE methods. This paper shows how to incorporate such discontinuity in a DOE study and how to optimize the restraint system parameters to reduce occupant injury indexes. It also discusses the feasibility of this method for integrated optimization of 50th percentile and 5th percentile dummies.
Journal Article

Optimization of All-around View Image Quality and Camera Calibration Method

This paper describes the methods adopted to improve the image quality of the all-around view system. This system uses multiple vehicle-mounted cameras to capture images of the circumstances around the vehicle. The images undergo viewpoint transformation and are synthesized to create a single image seen from a virtual perspective overhead. The specific methods discussed here concern optimization of the design parameters for the camera orientation and a camera calibration method that does not involve physical movement of the cameras.