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Technical Paper

Inverse Method for Measuring Weld Temperatures during Resistance Spot Welding

A new monitoring system predicts the progression of welding temperature fields during resistance spot welding. The system captures welding voltages and currents to predict contact diameters and simulate temperature fields. The system accurately predicts fusion lines and heat-affected zones. Accuracy holds even for electrode tips used for a few thousand welds of zinc coated steels.
Technical Paper

Development of Pitting Resistant Steel for Transmission Gears

It was found that pitting resistance of gears is strongly influenced by resistance to temper softening of carburized steel. The investigation about the influence of chemical compositions on hardness after tempering revealed that silicon, chromium and molybdenum are effective elements to improve resistance to temper softening and pitting resistance. Considering the production of gears, molybdenum is unfavorable because it increases hardness of normalized or annealed condition. Developed new steel contains about 0.5 mass% of silicon and 2.7 mass% chromium. The new steel has excellent pitting resistance and wear resistance. Fatigue and impact strength are equivalent to conventional carburized steels. Cold-formability and machinability of the new steel are adequate for manufacturing gears because of its ordinary hardness before carburizing. The new steel has already been put to practical use in automatic transmission gears. Application test results are also reported.
Technical Paper

Engine Application of a Battery Voltage-Driven DI Fuel Injection System

Every fuel injection system for DI gasoline engines has a DC-DC converter to provide high, stabile voltage for opening the injector valve more quickly. A current control circuit for holding the valve open is also needed, as well as a large-capacity capacitor for pilot injection. Since these components occupy considerable space, an injector drive unit separate from the ECU must be used. Thus, there has been a need for a fuel injection system that can inject a small volume of fuel without requiring high voltage. To meet that need, we have developed a dual coil injector and an opening coil current control system. An investigation was also made of all the factors related to the dynamic range of the injector, including static flow rate, fuel pressure, battery voltage and harness resistance. Both efforts have led to the adoption of a battery voltage-driven fuel injector.
Technical Paper

Development of a High-Performance TiA1 Exhaust Valve

A new high-performance and lightweight TiA1 intermetallic compound exhaust valve has been developed. The TiA1 valve can improve power output and fuel economy by contributing higher engine speeds and a reduction in valvetrain friction. It was achieved by developing a Ti-33.5A1-0.5Si-1Nb-0.5Cr (mass%) intermetallic compound, a precision casting method for TiA1 that provides a low-cost, high-quality process, and a plasma carburizing technique for assuring good wear resistance on the valve stem end, stem and face.
Technical Paper

Improvement in Pitting Resistance of Transmission Gears by Plasma Carburizing Process

The application of both high strength gear steels and shot peening technology has succeeded in strengthening automotive transmission gears. This technology, though, improves mainly the fatigue strength at the tooth root, but not the pitting property at the tooth face. Therefore, demand has moved to the development of new gear steels with good pitting resistance. In order to improve pitting resistance, the authors studied super carburizing which is characterized by carbide dispersion in the case, especially processed with a plasma carburizing furnace. Firstly, the influence of the carburizing temperature and carburizing period on the carbide morphology was investigated and the optimum carburizing conditions were determined. Secondly, the fatigue strength and pitting resistance was evaluated using carbide dispersed specimens.
Technical Paper

Development of Improved Metal-Supported Catalyst

A compact, high-performance and durable metal-supported catalyst has been developed by using the properties of the metal support effectively. The advantages of the metal-surpported catalyst against the ceramic-supported one are higher geometrical surface area, higher heat conductivity and thinner wall thickness. Higher geometlical surface area and higher heat conductivity lead to higher conversion efficiency after durability test and it allows reduction in catalyst volume. And the thinner wall thickness lowers gas flow resistance. But also, the metal-supported catalyst has the disadvantage of larger heat expansion and it requires special structure and material.
Technical Paper

Development of an Electric Concept Vehicle with a Super Quick Charging System

Recent environmental concerns such as atmospheric pollution and energy conservation have intensified the need to develop pollution-free, energy-efficient vehicles. One such solution is the electric automobile which draws its power from rechargeable batteries. There are few vehicles on the road today because present batteries can store very little energy compared with that of a tank of gasoline. To obtain adequate range, this concept vehicle adopts a new battery which can be recharged to 40% of capacity in six minutes. This super quick charging system makes it possible to recharge the batteries at an electric recharging station just as gasoline-powered vehicles are refilled at service stations. The electric concept vehicle also has improved aerodynamics, reduced rolling resistance and a lighter curb weight, which help to assure adequate range.
Technical Paper

Parametric Analysis of Resistance Spot Welding Lobe Curve

A linearized lumped parameter heat balance model was developed and is discussed for the general case of resistance welding to see the effects of each parameter on the lobe shape. The parameters include material properties, geometry of electrodes and work piece, weld time and current, and electrical and thermal contact characteristics. These are then related to heat dissipation in the electrodes and the work piece. The results indicate that the ratio of thermal conductivity and heat capacity to electrical resistivity is a characteristic number which is representative of the ease of spot weldability of a given material. The increases in thermal conductivity and heat capacity of the sheet metal increase the lobe width while increases in electrical resistivity decrease the lobe width. Inconsistencies in the weldability of thin sheets and the wider lobe width at long welding times can both be explained by the heat dissipation characteristics.
Technical Paper

High Performance Differential Gear

Excellent fuel economy and high performance have been urgent in Japanese automobile industries. With increasing engine power, many of the power train components have to withstand higher loads. Differential pinion gear being one of those highly stressed parts, excellent fatigue and shock resistance have been demanded. At first the fundamental study on the fatigue and impact crack behavior of carburized components was studied and the new grade composed of 0.18%C-0.7%Mn-1.0%Cr-0.4%Mo was alloy designed. Furthermore, Si and P is reduced less than 0.15 and 0.015%, respectively aiming at the reduction of intergranular oxidation and improved case toughness. The differential gear assembly test has proved that the new grade shows three times as high impact strength as that of conventional steel, SCM418, and almost the same as that of SNCM420 containing 1.8%Ni.
Technical Paper

A Study of Drag Reduction Devices for Production Pick-up Trucks

This paper describes a study of drag reduction devices for production pick-up trucks with a body-on-frame structure using full-scale wind tunnel testing and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. First, the flow structure around a pick-up truck was investigated and studied, focusing in particular on the flow structure between the cabin and tailgate. It was found that the flow structure around the tailgate was closely related to aerodynamic drag. A low drag flow structure was found by flow analysis, and the separation angle at the roof end was identified as being important to achieve the flow structure. While proceeding with the development of a new production model, a technical issue of the flow structure involving sensitivity to the vehicle velocity was identified in connection with optimization of the roof end shape. (1)A tailgate spoiler was examined for solving this issue.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamics Development for a New EV Hatchback Considering Crosswind Sensitivity

An electric vehicle (EV) has less powertrain energy loss than an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICE), so its aerodynamic accounts have a larger portion of drag contribution of the total energy loss. This means that EV aerodynamic performance has a larger impact on the all-electric range (AER). Therefore, the target set for the aerodynamics development for a new EV hatchback was to improving AER for the customer’s benefit. To achieve lower aerodynamic drag than the previous model’s good aerodynamic performance, an ideal airflow wake structure was initially defined for the new EV hatchback that has a flat underbody with no exhaust system. Several important parameters were specified and proper numerical values for the ideal airflow were defined for them. As a result, the new EV hatchback achieves a 4% reduction in drag coefficient (CD) from the previous model.
Technical Paper

Characterization of Structural, Volume and Pressure Components to Space Suit Joint Rigidity

Gas-pressurized space suits are highly resistive to astronaut movement, and this resistance has been previously explained by volume and/or structural effects. This study proposed that an additional effect, pressure effects due to compressing/expanding the internal gas during joint articulation, also inhibits mobility. EMU elbow torque components were quantified through hypobaric testing. Structural effects dominated at low joint angles, and volume effects were found to be the primary torque component at higher angles. Pressure effects were found to be significant only at high joint angles (increased flexion), contributing up to 8.8% of the total torque. These effects are predicted to increase for larger, multi-axis joints. An active regulator system was developed to mitigate pressure effects, and was found to be capable of mitigating repeated pressure spikes caused by volume changes.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamic Development of the Newly Developed Electric Vehicle

This paper explains the specific measures taken to develop the body and underfloor of the newly developed Electric Vehicle for the purpose of reducing drag. Additionally, the headlamps and fenders were designed with innovative shapes to reduce wind noise that occurs near the outside mirrors. As a result of utilizing the aerodynamic advantages of an electric vehicle to maximum effect, The newly developed Electric Vehicle achieves a class-leading drag coefficient and interior quietness.
Technical Paper

Study on Miniaturization of an Air-Cooled Inverter Integrated with Motor

This paper reports about a trial for miniaturization of an air-cooled inverter integrated with motor, which is realized by reduction of the total volume of smoothing capacitor. An integrated system prototype was constructed with a disk-shaped inverter positioned at the rear end of the motor. We examined the possibility of using a ceramic capacitor, which features a higher heat-resistance temperature, lower internal resistance and higher capacity density than a film capacitor. At the same level of capacitance, the volume of a ceramic capacitor is less than one-half that of a film capacitor, enabling the size of the smoothing capacitor to be reduced to approximately one-fifth that of the currently used device. A suitable circuit configuration and physical layout of distributed smoothing capacitors and corresponding power device modules are proposed and demonstrated.
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

Application of Prediction Formulas to Aerodynamic Drag Reduction of Door Mirrors

It is considered that door mirror drag is composed of not only profile drag but also interference drag that is generated by the mixing of airflow streamlines between door mirrors and vehicle body. However, the generation mechanism of interference drag remained unexplained, so elucidating mechanism for countermeasures reducing drag have been needed. In this study, the prediction formulas for door mirror drag expressed by functions in relation to velocities around the vehicle body were derived and verified by wind tunnel test. The predicted values calculated by formulas were compared with the measured values and an excellent agreement was found. In summary, new prediction formulas made it possible to examine low drag mirror including profile and interference drag.
Technical Paper

Improvement of Practical Electric Consumption by Drag Reducing under Cross Wind

Reducing vehicle fuel consumption has become one of the most important issues in recent years in connection with environmental concerns such as global warming. Therefore, in the vehicle development process, attention has been focused on reducing aerodynamic drag as a way of improving fuel economy. When considering environmental issues, the development of vehicle aerodynamics must take into account real-world driving conditions. A crosswind is one of the representative conditions. It is well known that drag changes in a crosswind compared with a condition without a crosswind, and that the change depends on the vehicle shape. It is generally considered that the influence of a crosswind is relatively small since drag accounts for a small proportion of the total running resistance. However, for electric vehicles, the energy loss of the drive train is smaller than that of an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.
Technical Paper

Development of a Wear Resistant Aluminum Alloy for Automotive Components

Hypereutectic Al-Si alloy 390, containing large amounts of hard silicon particles, has mainly been used for wear-resistant alloy applications. In the case of hypereutectic Al-Si alloys, the primary silicon particle size and distribution must be controlled to obtain stable wear resistance. The service life of furnaces and molds is shortened by the high melting and casting temperatures required for controlling primary silicon. Furthermore, machinability is degraded by large primary silicon particles. To overcome these problems, a new wear-resistant Al-Si alloy has been developed which provides good castability and machinability. This alloy also has wear resistance and mechanical properties similar to those of the 390 alloy. Specifically, the problems regarding castability and machinability were solved by decreasing the silicon content of the 390 alloy, but that also reduced wear resistance.
Journal Article

Silicon Carbide Inverter for EV/HEV Application featuring a Low Thermal Resistance Module and a Noise Reduction Structure

This paper presents the technologies incorporated in an electric vehicle (EV)/hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) inverter built with power semiconductors of silicon carbide (SiC) metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) instead of conventional silicon (Si) insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs). A SiC inverter prototype of 2.9 L in size for driving an 80-kW motor was fabricated and evaluated on a motor test bench. The SiC inverter prototype attained average efficiency of 98.5% in the Worldwide harmonized Light-duty Test Cycle (WLTC) driving mode. The two main technologies achieved with this SiC inverter prototype are described. The first one is a new direct-cooled power module with a thick copper (Cu) heat spreader located under the semiconductors that improves thermal resistance by 34% compared with a conventional direct-cooled power module.
Journal Article

Effects of Ethanol Content on Gasohol PFI Engine Wide-Open-Throttle Operation

The NOx emission and knock characteristics of a PFI engine operating on ethanol/gasoline mixtures were assessed at 1500 and 2000 rpm with λ =1 under Wide-Open-Throttle condition. There was no significant charge cooling due to fuel evaporation. The decrease in NOx emission and exhaust temperature could be explained by the change in adiabatic flame temperature of the mixture. The fuel knock resistance improved significantly with the gasohol so that ignition could be timed at a value much closer or at MBT timing. Changing from 0% to 100% ethanol in the fuel, this combustion phasing improvement led to a 20% increase in NIMEP and 8 percentage points in fuel conversion efficiency at 1500 rpm. At 2000 rpm, where knocking was less severe, the improvement was about half (10% increase in NIMEP and 4 percentage points in fuel conversion efficiency).