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Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: http://pia.sagepub.

com/ Journal of Power and Energy

Stability of Feedback Control of Boost in Variable Geometry Turbocharged Automotive Diesels

R J Backhouse, P C Franklin and D E Winterbone Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy 1989 203: 163 DOI: 10.1243/PIME_PROC_1989_203_023_02 The online version of this article can be found at: http://pia.sagepub.com/content/203/3/163

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Stability of feedback control of boost in variable geometry turbocharged automotive diesels

R J Backhouse, MA, MSc, PhD Napier Turbochargers Limited, Lincoln
P C Franklin, MA
Holset Engineering Company Limited, Huddersfield

D E Winterbone, BSc, PhD, DSc, CEng, FIMechE

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Manchester

This paper is concerned with the control of turbocharged automotive diesel enginesjtted with variable geometry turbines, in particular, for the case where a feedback loop is used to control the boost pressure. Interaction between the loops governing speed and controlling boost will affect the stability of the overall system. The effect of this interaction is considered for the case of automotive diesel engines in the 200-250 kW class at peak torque speed, both with and without engine speed governing, and for the cases of idle and maximum speed governing. The efects of vehicle load, turbocharger rotor inertia and actuator response are also considered. The analysis uses the characteristic equation of the control system to determine lines of system instability in the gain plane.


a constant decibel transfer function of speed sensor f F transfer function of engine speed to rack position C(r/min)/mmI polar moment of inertia of engine (including flyIE wheel and clutch) (kg mZ) total polar moment of inertia (kg mZ) It,, polar moment of inertia of road wheel (kg mZ) 1, square root of minus one j k transfer function of rack motion to speed [mm/ (r/min)I m mass of vehicle (kg) M design gross vehicle weight (kg) number of road wheels nW engine rotational speed (r/min) NE boost pressure (absolute) (bar) pb gearbox gear ratio It gear ratio of driving axle 12 R rolling radius of driving wheels (m) S Laplace variable (s- ) TF transfer function load torque (kg m) I ; fuel rack position (mm) Xf ANE error in engine speed (r/min) angular frequency (rad/s) 0


diesel engines for trucks and buses, but has the disadvantage of poor low-speed torque and poor transient response compared to an equivalent naturally aspirated engine. Use of variable geometry (VG) turbines allows boost to be improved at low speed without overspeeding the turbocharger at rated engine speeds. Smoke-limited torque is increased at low speeds and brake specific fuel consumption can be improved over much of the engine operating range (1, 2). In addition, if the turbine inlet area (Ati) is restricted at part load to raise the minimum turbocharger speed, then the engine transient response can be improved. Figure 1 shows an idealized Ati schedule for steady state operation; while open-loop scheduling in this manner is beneficial, closed-loop (feedback) control of boost pressure gives the added advantage of automatic compensation for variations in ambient pressure (e.g. due to altitude) and turbocharger wear, and the control of turbine area during transient performance is also improved. An engine having feedback control of boost pressure constitutes a multi-variable control problem with two inputs and two outputs (Fig. 2); coupling or interaction between the two feedback loops (one controlling engine


d dt

first derivative with respect to time (s-l)

Maximum turbine inlet area (Ari)

The subscript ref indicates a control reference value.


Turbocharging is a well-established means of improving the specific power (kilowatts per kilogram) and cost of
The MS was received on 16 M a y 1988 and was accepted for publication on 4 April 1989.
A01988 Q IMechE 1989

Engine speed

Fig. 1 Idealized steady state schedule of turbine inlet area

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+ .OS

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Diesel engine Rack I speed position I


+ Torque


Load torque

Boost pressure

Reference boost


Turbine 1 area I I


Fig. 2 Transfer function diagram of a turbocharged diesel engine with VG turbine and separate feedback control of engine speed and boost pressure

speed and the other boost pressure) may cause instability, even where each of the loops Considered separately is stable. It is quite feasible to produce a multi-variable controller to control engine speed and boost simultaneously, making due compensation for interaction; one of the authors has designed a microprocessor-based controller of this type and used it to control an automotive diesel with a variable geometry turbine (3). Such an approach is likely to increase the first cost of the engine and requires integration of the control of turbine area with that of the engine speed governor; the latter has until now been the responsibility of the fuel injection equipment (FIE) manufacturer. In the short term, at least, there is believed to be a market for variable geometry turbochargers using simple control technology such that they can be fitted to the engine without modification to the FIE. This approach also allows easy fitting to engines already in service. One simple control strategy is to adjust turbine inlet area to try to maintain the inlet manifold pressure constant. This leads, under steady state conditions, to the variation of turbine inlet area of the form shown in Fig. 3. This system gives good full-load and good transient performance and does not require sensing of the engine

Reference P , line

speed. The force required to change the turbine inlet area may be obtained by means of a pneumatic actuator, operating from the boost pressure, and hence the system can be contained in the turbocharger itself. The disadvantage of this schedule is that the part-load eficiency of the engine is impaired by the high back pressure, although in some applications this is not a major problem. The application of such a control system is considered for the case of diesel engines in the power range from 200 to 250 kW. The speed governor may be of either the two-speed or all-speed type. The former type provides speed governing at low-speed idle, to avoid stall, and at maximum speed, to prevent damage to the valve gear and vehicle transmission, with no governing of speed at intermediate speeds. In the case of all-speed governing, the governing at intermediate speeds is similar to that at maximum speed (that is giving a very steep rise in engine fuelling with a fall in engine speed), with the demanded speed being determined by the accelerator position. The latter type of governing is more common in off-road applications, such as mechanical digging and bulldozing. A brief resume of some control theory is given before covering the hardware and data used and the assumptions made. The paper then proceeds to consider the effect of feedback loop interaction under different engine operating conditions. The effects of vehicle mass, turbocharger rotor inertia and improved actuator response on stability are also considered.


Engine speed

Fig. 3 Turbine inlet area schedule when actuator is operated by boost pressure
Part A : Journal of Power Engineering

2.1 Introduction to feedback control The basic concepts of feedback control can be obtained from many standard textbooks, e.g. Raven (4). This section will relate some of the control parameters to the response of engine speed (NE)to fuel pump rack position (xJ. If the fuel delivery to the cylinders (cubic millimetres per stroke) is assumed to be proportional to rack position, engine torque proportional to fuel delivery and load torque proportional to engine speed, then the
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. -


max-min governing or, in the case of all-speed governing, a movable value that varies with the position of the driver's accelerator pedal. The overall response of engine speed to changes in reference speed (that is the closed loop transfer function) is found from

= gk"Ere(



Thus NE I



+ gkf


- -

- -



Fig. 4 (a) Open-loop block diagram (b) Closed-loop block diagram

Closed-loop stability is determined by the denominator of the transfer function, which is called the closed-loop characteristic polynomial. In simple terms, instability occurs when this becomes zero :
1 + gkf= 0 or


equation describing the variation of engine speed is

This first-order differential equation may be rearranged to give the transfer function of the engine, viz. the response of engine speed to a change in rack position :

where D is the differential operator. The derivative in equation (2) may be replaced by j o , in the case of sinusoidally ranging parameters (or by s, the complex Laplace operator, for a more general solution in terms of e"). The transfer function may be represented by the block diagram shown in Fig. 4a, and it can be evaluated experimentally by varying the rack position sinusoidally at different frequencies and measuring the amplitude and phase of the resulting speed perturbation relative to that of the rack motion. The steady state gain can be obtained by making a step change in rack position and measuring the resulting change in speed, allowing sufficient time for the speed to reach steady state. Often it is convenient to express the gain at a given frequency relative to the steady state gain. Normally gain is expressed in decibels : Relative gain (dB) = 20 x log,, gain at frequency o steady state gain

g k f = -1 (5b) The left-hand side of equation (5b) is the system loop response; this can be expressed in terms of gain and phase at a given frequency. Figure 5 shows the gain (decibels) and phase (degrees) plotted separately against the log of frequency (called a Bode diagram) for a firstorder response with additional time delay. The time delays may result from sampling in digital systems or, for example, from the delay between fuel injection and the resulting torque appearing at the crankshaft. The first-order response is typical of an engine in which the load is a function of speed. The loop gain is dimensionless: instability occurs when at the same frequency the loop gain is 1 (0 dB) and the phase lag round the loop is 180 degrees. In


\ \

log f
-20 dB/decade

First-order system

Extra phase lag due to added time delay

An additional parameter used in control system assessment is the break frequency, which is that frequency at which the relative gain has fallen to - 3 dB; this may be loosely termed the bandwidth of the response. When feedback is applied, that is when the speed is sensed and corrective action made to the rack position in an attempt to restore the engine speed to its desired (or reference) value, the block diagram becomes that of Fig. 4b, where the section enclosed in dashed lines is normally performed by the fuel injection equipment (FIE). The box f represents the response (transfer function) of the speed sensor to changes in engine speed; box k represents the movement of the rack in response to errors in sensed speed. The reference speed may be constant (that is idle or maximum speed) for
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\' 1



Increasing time delay

\ \

Fig. 5 Bode diagrams of a first-order system with time delay

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general, the two effects occur at different frequencies : the gain crossover frequency and the phase crossover frequency respectively. The phase margin is the angle by which the phase can be increased before reaching minus 180 degrees at the gain crossover frequency. The gain margin is the amount by which the gain can be increased at the phase crossover frequency before the gain reaches unity. Oldenburger (5) suggests that 30 degrees phase margin together with 8 dB gain margin gives satisfactory stability for such systems. Garvey (6) observed noticeable roughness in diesel engine running when the phase margin in the speed-governing loop fell much below 30 degrees. In automotive diesel systems the crossover frequencies are generally in the range 1-5 Hz, although as electronic control becomes more widely applied and faster actuators come into use the upper limit may increase to 10 Hz.

both feedback gains can be increased by a factor of three without crossing the instability lines determined from the characteristic equation. This corresponds to what may loosely be called a gain margin of about 10 dB. More general approaches to the analysis of multivariable systems under feedback control are available (7,8), and these are particularly powerful with complex systems. While it is usually safe to assume that interaction reduces stability margins (as Rosenbrock's inverse Nyquist array method does) this is not necessarily the case. In this simple case, where speed and boost feedback characteristics are already known, use of the Characteristic equation allows the actual stability limits to be explored under different system assumptions.

2.2 Multi-variable system

The basic theories for multi-variable systems are developed by Rosenbrock (7), MacFarlane (8) and others. The system in question has two outputs (engine speed and boost pressure) and two inputs (rack position and turbine inlet area) (Fig. 2). Feedback control of speed takes place in the governor. Using the symbols of Fig. 2, but with g l l and g12 now incorporating the effects of the load, the closed-loop transfer functions of the two engine outputs can be obtained:

Frequency response measurements were made using Solartron frequency response analysers on two direct injection turbocharged diesel engines (of 11 litre and 10 litre displacement) each fitted with a Holset VH2C turbocharger. Some of these results are presented in reference (9). The turbocharger has a prototype variable geometry mechanism and pneumatic (boost pressure) actuation of the change in the turbine area. The frequency responses of the boost control loop were measured on a rig and on the engine itself. The responses of several mechanical governors typical of the type fitted to these engines were examined and a response equivalent to the best of these was assumed for this investigation (see Fig. 6).
Frequency -~






+flklgll)(~ +f2k2922)-f1f2kklk2912921 The denominator C is common to each of the closedloop transfer functions so that any instability affects both feedback loops. Instability occurs when C, the characteristic polynomial of the system, is zero; that is

c =(I

12 litre turbocharged diesel 60% load 1500 rlmin (engine)



(1 +fl k l g11X1

+ f 2 k2 gz2) - f 1 f 2

k l k2 912 Q21 = 0

Frequency ____


f l k l g l l +f2k2922 +flfiklk2(911922 --12921) = - 1






(6b) If each of the individual responses is known, the above equation can be used to determine which combinations of feedback gains (k, and k2) will produce instability. The results may be plotted in the gain plane, where the two feedback gain values form the two axes. Stability margins are harder to define for multivariable systems than for single-loop ones. It will be assumed, in this case, that a safe margin exists when
Part A: Journal of Power Engineering

- 140 - 160


Governor type


o Type A
A TypeB

- Governor response assumed

in present analysis

Fig. 6 Assumed governor response compared with response measured for similar FIE pumps
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Typical range of steady state feedback gains measured : Speedgovernor (at maximum speed) Boost actuator 1&14 per cent increase in maximum fuel per 1 per cent change in engine speed 2.5-60 per cent A,i (as a percentage of fully open area) per 1 per cent change in boost absolute pressure



a 2



0.2 -

, ,

, - interaction With

0.1 0.05 -

The preferred value of the boost actuator steady state gain, for good transient and steady state performance, is 5 per cent Ati per 1 per cent change in boost absolute , . This implies a narrow pressure range measure P within which the turbine area actuator may operate free of the end stops (that is the turbine tends to be fully closed or fully open over much of the engine operating region) (Fig. 3).





Boost feedback gain


Lines indicating instability Lines of safe stability margin Region of desired feedback gains Actuator responses normal Turbocharger inertia standard

4.1 Without speed governor action

When a two-speed max-min governor is used speed feedback due to governor action occurs only at maximum speed and low-speed idle. However, some minor intrinsic feedback does occur at intermediate speeds, because the fuel injection characteristics are generally chosen to give a small increase in fuelling with a decrease in speed in order to achieve the desired torque curve. The steady state gains of the interaction terms become greatest at maximum load and near peak torque speed; this is likely to be the condition where interaction will have the greatest influence on stability. Typical steady state gain values of the transfer functions are given in Table 1 for the 11 litre engine at this operating point. Estimated variations for other engines of this class are given in brackets. The terms in equation (2) then have the following steady state magnitudes, assuming that gain of the boost feedback loop has the desired value of 5 per cent Ati per cent change in absolute boost pressure:
9 1 1 922

Fig. 7 Stability region in the gain plane: peak torque condition without speed governing

At steady state, the product of the interaction terms

g12 and g21 is small compared to the product of the direct terms g l l and g2,; at higher frequencies of inter-

est (2-10 Hz) the interaction becomes more significant and may affect the stability of the system. By substituting the measured frequency responses into the characteristic equation the values of the feedback gains ( k , and k,) required to cause instability can be determined. The lines of instability are plotted for this operating point in Fig. 7, together with lines suggesting a safe gain margin. In the absence of speed governor action there is clearly sufficient margin in the speed feedback loop; Fig. 7 also indicates that stability in the boost feedback loop is sufficient and that, if anything, interaction improves the stability slightly.



O.qO.24 - 0.6) 0.042(0.026 - 0.08)

. % absolute boost

% rated speed

4.2 With speed governor action The stability of the system with speed governing needs to be considered not only at the peak torque condition but also at idle and at maximum engine speed.
4.2.1 Idle speed control

% maximum fuel

% Ati

11% rising to 15% above 1 Hz (dimensionless)

At engine idle speed the boost pressure is well below the level at which actuator motion occurs, so that k2 is

Table 1 Typical steady state gain values at peak torque condition in the absence of governor action

DescriDtion Response o f FIE speed to engine speed Change in fuelling with speed Engine speed response to fuelling Actuator pressure response to boost Actuator rod response to boost Boost response to actuator rod Speed response to actuator rod Boost response to fuelling

Steady state value Unity 0.4% max. fuel/% rated speed (0.04.6) 0.8% rated speed/% max. fuel (0.61.0) Unity 5% turbine area/% change in boost (absolute) (2.5-10) 0 . 4 0 . 6 ) 0.5% change in boost (abs.)/%& ( 0.03% rated speed/% A,i (0.02-0.04) 1.4% boost change (abs.)/% max. fuel (1.3-2.0)
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gZ2 g,, g,,
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Table 2 Steady state gains at maximum engine speed

gl] g12 gzl


Steady state gain

0.8 (0.6-1.0) -0.005 (0.03SO.05) 1.0 (0.8-1.2) 0.35 (0.3-0.45)

% rated speed/l% max. fuel % rated speed/% turbine area % boost change (abs.)/% max. fuel

abs boost pressure/% turbine area

zero; there is therefore no interaction and stability is determined solely by the stability of the speed feedback loop.

4.2.2 Maximum speed control (governor runout)

Typical steady state gain values for the transfer functions under maximum speed governing (point 3 in Fig. 3) are given in Table 2 with estimated ranges in brackets. In Fig. 8 the lines of instability are shown in the gain plane under maximum speed governing, for the case where the load inertia is zero; that is the rotational inertia is that of the engine and flywheel alone. Stability in the speed feedback loop is marginal, but this is necessary for fast response. Again, interaction appears to improve the stability maigins. f engine load inertia. Since the break fre(a) Eflect o quency in the speed response loop is generally well below the range determining control stability (that is below the gain crossover frequency), any increase in load inertia reduces the gain more significantly than it increases phase lag and so improves the stability margin. Instabilities that appear on the test-bed, therefore, will not necessarily appear when the engine is operating normally in a vehicle. The engine is only under load, other than momentarily, when a gear is engaged; the total effective inertia increases with vehicle load and inversely with gear ratio. The minimum effective inertia under load is estimated to be 1.8 times that of the engine and flywheel alone (see the Appendix). Also shown in Fig. 8 are the lines

1 0



Boost feedback gain Turbine area actuator response improved (10 Hz band width with digital control) Load inertia (total)is 1.8 times engine inertia

Fig. 9 Stability in the gain plane: maximum speed governing, showing effect of turbocharger inertia

instability with 1.8 times engine inertia

C .&


With interaction Instability with engine inertia


_ ~_ _ - - - - - __ __ _~ _ _

. interaction

** LLll""





Boost feedback gain

Actuator responses normal Turbocharger inertia standard

Fig. 8 Stability region in the gain plane: maximum speed, showing effect of load inertia
Part A : Journal of Power Engineering

obtained after altering the speed responses to simulate an increase in rotational inertia of this magnitude: the gain margin is now ample. It is assumed that the transmission is torsionally rigid, and this is valid provided that the natural frequency of torsional oscillations is not close to the crossover frequencies. At frequencies close to the transmission natural frequency, which is expected to be between 5 and 10 Hz, the effective load inertia seen by the engine may be substantially reduced; this in turn will reduce the stability margin and may cause hunting. The usable bandwidth of the actuators controlling engine fuelling and turbine area may well be limited by these considerations. (b) Improved boost actuator response. Figure 9 shows the lines of instability when the response of the boost sensor and turbine area actuator are improved to that of a digitally controlled actuator of 10 Hz bandwidth with a total time delay of 20 ms. In the 1-5 Hz range, in which stability is determined, such a feedback loop has negligible attenuation of gain but moderate phase lag. While improving response time this can be expected to reduce stability margins in the boost feedback loop; compare Fig. 9 with Fig. 8. (Lines showing stability limits with interaction indicate the worst case represented by the ranges of values given in Table 2.) (c) Reduced turbocharger moment of inertia. The break frequency associated with the turbocharger response is usually well below 1 Hz, so that reducing the turbocharger moment of inertia increases the boost gain in the 1-5 Hz range without significantly reducing the phase lag. This reduces the stability margin; nevertheless the margin appears to be sufficient even when the turbocharger moment of inertia is reduced to 40 per cent of its original value (Fig. 9).
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Lines of instability Without interaction With interaction

the engine and flywheel alone. This implies that control instabilities seen on the test-bed may not appear when the engine is operating in a vehicle.

The authors are grateful to Holset Engineering Company Limited for permission to publish. Part of the work was carried out under SERC sponsorship. They are also grateful to Professor F. J. Wallace for permission to use the facilities of the Wolfson Engine Test Unit at Bath University, and for the assistance of the Wolfson Unit staff.
1 Wallace, F. J., Way, R. J. B. and Baghery, A. Variable geometry turbocharging-the realistic way forward. SAE paper 810336, 1981. 2 Flaxington, D. and Szczupak, D. T. Variable area radial inflow turbines. IMechE Conference on Turbocharging and turbochargers, 1982 (Mechanical Engineering Publications, London). 3 Backhouse, R. J. The dynamic behaviour and feedback control of a turbocharged automotive diesel engine with variable geometry turbine. PhD thesis, 1986, University of Manchester. 4 Raven, F. H. Automatic control engineering, 1961 (McGraw-Hill, New York). 5 Oldenburger, R. C. Frequency response data, standards and design criteria. ASME paper 53-All, 1953. 6 Gamey, D. C. A digital control algorithm for diesel engine governing. SAE paper 850174,1985. 7 Rosenbrock, H. H. Computer aided control system design, 1974 (Academic Press, London). 8 MacFarlane, A. G. J. (Ed.) Complex uariable methods for linear multiuariable'feedbak systems, 1980 (Taylor and Francis, London). 9 Backhouse, R. J. and Winterbone, D. E. Dynamic behaviour of a turbocharged diesel engine. SAE paper 860453,1986.




Boost feedback gain Turbine area actuator response improved Load inertia (total) is 1.8 times engine inertia Lines B-B indicate 40% reduction in turbocharger inertia

Fig. 10 Stability region in the gain plane: peak torque condition with speed governing

4.2.3 Mid speed range

With all-speed governing, the stability at higher engine speeds (point 2 in Fig. 3) is assumed to be similar to that at maximum speed. For the region near peak torque speed (point 1 in Fig. 3) the limits of stability are shown in Fig. 10. The load inertia is 1.8 times that of the engine. When the turbocharger inertia is reduced the stability margin in the boost loop is again reduced; improvement in the boost actuator response further reduces the boost loop stability. Interaction actually increases the gain margin in the boost loop and in the case of reduced turbocharger inertia (lines labelled A-A) will help to maintain the stability margin in the desired feedback gain operating range. If improved boost feedback response is combined with reduced turbocharger inertia (lines B-B) the stability margin becomes inadequate.

Estimation of minimum total effective load inertia

Assuming torsional rigidity of the transmission, total effective inertia seen by the engine is given by

In an automotive turbocharged diesel of 2W250 kW, having simple feedback control of boost pressure, as described in this paper, interactions between the feedback loop controlling boost pressure and that controlling speed are small and often improve the stability margin. Stable feedback control of boost pressure can therefore be applied without the need for multi-variable precompensation. Stability margin in the loop controlling boost is least at the peak torque condition and instability is likely to result at this operating point if a reduced turbocharger inertia (for example, by use of ceramic components) is combined with fast actuation and digital control of the turbine inlet area. Provided that the natural frequency of torsional vibrations in the transmission is not close to the frequency determining control stability, the minimum load inertia seen by an engine when it is operating under load in a vehicle will be significantly greater than that of
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This assumes that the inertias of gearbox output shaft, propeller shaft, differential, half-shafts and driving hubs are negligible compared with the aggregate inertia of the road wheels. From equation (7) it is clear that minimum effective inertia occurs when rl r2 is maximum (that is in bottom gear). If it is assumed in addition that the gearing is chosen such that bottom gear is sufficient to enable the engine to take the vehicle, fully laden, up the steepest gradient encountered, and that the gear ratio, rl r 2 , required to climb this hill is proportional to the design gross vehicle weight (GVW), that is
rI r2 a M

then the third term in equation (7) can be expressed as

The third term of equation (7) is clearly proportional to vehicle mass (as a proportion of GVW), and the minimum total effective inertia occurs in bottom gear with the vehicle unladen. Taking, as the worst case, an articulated vehicle
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tractor without its trailer, and assuming the following amroximate values:
I, = 3 kg m I, = 20 kg m R = 0.55 m rl r2 = 55 m = 9 x lo3 kg n, = 6


ltoteff = 3 + 2.2 + 0.9 kg m2 = 6.2 kg mz = 2.1 1 ,

Allowing for errors in the assumptions, a value of 1.8 times engine inertia is assumed a safe estimate of the minimum total effective inertia seen by the engine under load in service.

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