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Primož Pogorevc, Breda Kegl

University of Maribor, Faculty of mechanical engineering,
Smetanova 17, SI-2000 Maribor, Slovenia
e-mail to:,
: +386 2 220 77 40 : +386 2 220 79 90

Abstract. The intake system geometry of the internal combustion engine has a major effect on the gas
exchange process. Therefore it affects the performance of the engine and its emissions. In order to
improve engine performance, it must assure uniform distribution of fresh air among the cylinders and
minimal pressure losses along the channels. The optimisation of the intake systems is of an interest to
the engine designers since the beginning of the 20th century.
The paper deals with the optimal design of the intake system for the four-stroke four-valve internal
combustion engine with the intention of increasing its power. Special geometry demands and
constraints had to be taken into consideration. Optimisation was carried out using the optimisation
program iGO based on a gradient-based approximation method. For the response calculation the
computational fluid dynamics program BOOST was used. The connection between iGO and BOOST
was established by simple wrapper programs that took care for the correct data exchange. The results
comparison confirmed the adequacy of the program BOOST in our example.

The intake system geometry directly influences the gas exchange process in the internal
combustion engine. Therefore it has a crucial effect on its performance, fuel consumption and
emissions. It must assure equal distribution of air among the cylinders and minimal pressure
losses along the channels. The quest for appropriate intake geometries goes back to the
beginning of the 20th century [1].

Nowadays there is a number of engine cycle simulation codes available. Such one-
dimensional flow codes are used to pre-sign the fundamentals and thermodynamics
characteristics of the internal combustion engines. They produce engine performance
predictions with good accuracy and can be also used for pre-designing the gas exchange
systems of the internal combustion engines. However, the optimisation of such systems
requires numerous time-consuming trial and error runs and an additional effort represent
several constraints that have to be taken into consideration. The lack of optimising capability
in the simulation codes means there is a strong need for the automatic finding of the optimum
design [2].

On the other hand there are quite lot optimisation algorithms available. We just need to
choose the right one and to integrate it into the design process. If the design variables of the
problem under consideration are continuous (i.e. they can be varied continuously), one of the
most promising choices is the use of a gradient-based algorithm [3].
To overcome the drawbacks of numerous time-consuming trial and error runs, the engine
cycle simulation code and the gradient-based optimisation program were linked together
performing the search of the optimum of the intake system parameters. The programs Boost
from AVL and iGO, which was developed at out faculty, can't be combined together directly,
adequate wrapper programs had to be written.
In the course of previous work the model of a modified motorcycle engine Honda CBR 600,
was developed using the engine cycle simulation program AVL Boost [4]. The engine
modifications relate to the exchange of the carburettor with the self-developed intake system
and electronically controlled fuel injection [5]. The overall engine characteristics are given in
Table 1 [8].
Table 1: Engine characteristics
Honda CBR 600
Displacement 599 cm3
Bore and stroke 65,0 x 45,2 mm
Cylinder arrangement 4 cylinders in line
Distances between the cylinders 71-82,4-71 mm
Compression ratio 11,6
Firing order 1-2-4-3
Fuelling system MPI system

The modified engine is used in a racing car that competes at the "Formula Student" event. In
order to limit the power capability of the engine, a single circular restrictor must be placed in
the intake system between the throttle and the engine and all engine airflow must pass through
this restrictor [8].

The engine model layout using AVL Boost simulation code is shown on Figure 1.

Figure 1: Model layout in the Boost pre-processor

A detailed structure of the engine was modelled using the engine parts of the Boost pre-
processor, such as pipes, restrictions, junctions, injectors, cylinders and plenum.

Optimisation problems are generally very diverse in their original form, but they can usually
be transformed into a standard problem F defined as

min f 0 (x), (eq. 1)

f i (x) ≤ 0, 1 ≤ i ≤ N, (eq. 2)
where f 0 is the objective function, f1 , f 2 ,..., f N are the constraint functions, x ∈ ℜ M is the
vector of M design variables and N is the number of constraints [3]. The functions of F are
usually non-linear with respect to x , so the problem has to be solved iteratively.
3.1 iGO
The optimisation program iGO (Figure 2) was developed in the Laboratory for optimisation
of mechanical systems (LOMS) at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Maribor. It is
based on the gradient-based algorithm described in detail in [3].

Figure 2: Optimisation program iGO

3.2 Optimisation procedure

The program iGO searches for the optimum in an iterative process. In each iteration iGO runs
the simulation programs (AVL Boost in our case), acquires their output data and makes one
call to the build-in optimizer. AVL Boost, which was used for the calculation of the response,
can't be directly combined with iGO. Because of that the communication between the
optimizer and the simulators is established by simple ad-hoc wrapper programs as shown on
Figure 3.
b0 b*
iG O o ptim isatio n pro g ram


M o difies th e B o o st inp u t file A V L B oost p rog ram G ets the requ ired d ata fro m
w ith current v alu es of d esig n (resp on se equ ation ) the B o o st o utp ut file
v ariables

Figure 3: Optimisation procedure

3.3 Optimisation of the intake system

The modified Honda engine is used to power our racing car. That's why the sum of engine's
power values at several engine speeds was used for the objective function. Each value was
multiplied by a coefficient in order to define the significance of the engine speed ranges (eq.
3). The power was considered in the range between 7500 and 11500 revolutions per minute
(rpm) with the step of 500 revolutions.
f 0 = −[0,04( P7500 + P11500 ) + 0,064( P7000 + P11000 + 0,16( P8000 + P8500 + ... + P10500 ] (eq. 3)

Since the minimum of the objective function is searched for, the minus sign is placed before
the power expression.

The primary pipes (pipes 23-26 on Figure 1) diameter and length (Figure 4) of the intake
collector are used as the design variables (Figure 3). The actual dimensions of the existing
intake system were used for the initial values (eq. 4).

b1 = diameter ∈ [20,60], b1( 0) = 37 mm

(eq. 4)
b2 = lenght ∈ [300,400], b1( 0) = 340mm

The external intake system dimensions should remain the same, because of the existing racing
car geometry and engine position (Figure 5), so the shape of the diffuser (pipe 5 on Figure 1)
was changed accordingly.

During the optimisation process of the intake collector some constraint functions related to the
tube length, noise and fuel consumption had to be fulfilled as follows (eq. 5).

Lmin − L ≤ 0
CombNoise(i ) − 110dBA ≤ 0, (i = 1,...,9) (eq. 5)
BSFC (i ) − 350 g / kWh ≤ 0, (1 = 1,...,9)

The general shape of intake system and distances between the pipes leading to the cylinders
constrain their minimal length, while the maximum noise and the fuel consumption are
defined with the "Formula Student" regulations [8].
Figure 4: Primary pipe - design variables

Figure 5: Car geometry and engine position

Engine's power response in dependence of the design variables was calculated by the AVL
program Boost.

Figure 6 shows the numerical and measured power curves of the modified Honda engine with
the existing intake system. The diagram shows good agreement between the numerical and
experimental results and justifies use of AVL Boost for the response calculation in the
optimisation process.
The result of intake system optimisation is shown by the comparison between the engine
power curves (Figure 7).
Figure 6: Modified engine power

Figure 7: Engine power increase

The diagram shows engine power increase on the whole range of engine speed, except at 9000
rpm, where the power of the engine with the optimised intake system is slightly lower. For the
race, however, the upper range of engine speeds is most important, so that the results of the
optimisation are very satisfactory.

The optimised values of the design variables are 40,5 for the pipe diameter (existing intake
system: 37) and 310 mm for its length (340). Because of the change in the diameter and
length of primary pipes the diffuser length changes to 220 mm (195).

The existing and the optimised shapes of the intake collector are shown on Figure 8.

primary pipes

Figure 8: Existing and optimised intake collector

Even though the visual shape changes are not very impressive, Figure 7 clearly shows a
significant engine power increase with the optimised shape of the intake collector. All the
constraint functions were fulfilled; so we can say with certainty that the optimised design
variable values noticeably improve the engine characteristics.

The AVL Boost represents an effective engine cycle simulation program. The established
connection between AVL Boost and the optimisation program iGO provides a way for
automatic determination of the optimum design. The wrapper programs, which are used for
the data exchange between the programs, can easily be modified in order to optimise other
engine parts (exhaust, camshaft shape…). The optimisations goals can also differ: power
increase, fuel consumption, noise decrease and so on

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Intake Manifolds, SAE 900677
[2] W. Zücker, R. R. Maly, S. Wagner, Evolution-Strategy Based, Fully Automatic,
numerical Optimization of Gas-Exchange Systems for IC engines, SAE 2001-01-0577
[3] M. Kegl, B. J. Butinar, B. Kegl, An efficient gradient-based optimisation algorithm for
mechanical systems, Comunications in numerical methods in engineering, 18:363-371,
[4] P. Pogorevc, B. Kegl, Analiza razmer v sesalnem kolektorju, IAT'03, Zbornik referatov,
Ljubljana 2003
[5] P. Pogorevc, B. Kegl, Design of Intake System with Special Demands, Kones, Vol. 9,
No. 1-2, Warsaw - Gdansk, 2002, ISSN 1231-4005
[6] Honda CBR600F, Shop Manual, Honda Motor co. ltd. 1990
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SAE 821577
[8] 2003 Formula SAE® Rules,
[9] P. Pogorevc, Oblikovanje sesalnega razvoda s pomočjo računalniške dinamike tekočin,
magistrska naloga, Fakulteta za strojništvo Maribor, 2003