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Engine Research Facilities

Engine test cells complex consists of two dynamometer cells adjacent to the control enclosure hosting emission measurement system.


Multicylinder engine test cell with 200 kW AC dynamometer

Test cell with a transient AC dynamometer with associated regenerative inverter drive. Capable of flexible load scenarios for engines up to 200 kW and 1100 Nm. Rated at up to 16,000rpm for numerous engine and test applications. Currently hosts JCB Dieselmax 165 kW 6-cylinder engine with intercooler.

Engine test cell with 75 kW AC dynamometer

This test cell is ideal for advanced research in combustion system, fuel effects, or component development. The test cell currently hosts single cylinder Ricardo Hydra engines, optical and thermal. .

The various operating conditions are tested using:

High pressure boost rig

The high-pressure boost rig is used to investigate and develop supercharging technologies requiring boost pressures of up to 6 bar. There is an independent control of charge temperature down to typically 30C-40C. The boost rig enables dynamic control of pressure and steady state control of temperature of the engine supply air, to simulate turbo/super charger conditions. High pressure air is provided by a compressor unit shown below.

Compressed air supply

Atlas Copco compressor combines an air-cooled screw compressor and an air-cooled booster. It requires little maintenance and is designed to work in all conditions with exceptional durability.

The following facilities are for Exhuast Gas Emission Analysis:

Horiba MEXA-ONE FT (E) gas analyser (Euro 6 compatible)

The MEXA-ONE-FT gas analyser simultaneously measures concentrations of several constituents including NH3, N2O, CH4, CO, and CO2 in un-diluted exhaust gas using the Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) method in combination with a multivariate analysis algorithm. It incorporates HORIBA's proprietary, compact interferometer which yields superior performance and high accuracy. The system complies with NH3 testing requirements of Euro VI, the EU regulation for heavy duty emissions testing.

Horiba EXSA-1500

Raw exhaust gas emission analyser Horiba EXSA-1500 measures the concentrations of CO, CO2, THC, NOx and O2 in exhaust gases from the engine. EXSA-1500 works even on low sample flow rates (3 l/m).

Bosch emission analyser with opacity meter

Testing and minimising pollutant emissions with modular measurement technology - in accordance with the latest legislation and with high measurement accuracy. Optimised for all current and future requirements of exhaust tests. Very fast response time.

The following are used for data acquisition:

CADET V14, test automation system

CADET V14 is a control, automation and data-logging system for engine testing. CADET enables operational personnel to easily compile test programs, automatically protect the test facility against out of limit operation, record data during testing and analyze the data during or at the completion of a test. Custom functions can be developed for additional calculated data stored together with real data from the test bed.

National Instruments Combustion Analysis System, high-speed data acquisition

The NI Combustion Analysis system software is a unique LabView plug-in for performing sophisticated in-cylinder combustion analysis and data logging for engine research and development.


In-cylinder indicating system

Kistler pressure transducer with amplifier is used for measuring engine in-cylinder pressure. Suitable for static and dynamic pressures.

Lock-in amplifier

Lock-in amplifiers are used to detect and measure very small AC signals - all the way down to a few nanovolts. Accurate measurements may be made even when the small signal is obscured by noise sources many thousands of times larger.

The experimental work on the engine performance and emissions is supported with fuel analysis and numerical simulation facilities:

Differential scanning calorimeter

Differential scanning calorimeter is used to measure melting temperature, heat of fusion, latent heat of melting, reaction energy and temperature, oxidation induction times, specific heat or heat capacity and the overall heat release.

Composition analysis via Gas Chromotography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)

Gas chromatography mass spectrometry is an instrumental technique by which complex mixtures of chemicals may be separated, identified and quantified. This makes it ideal for the analysis of the hundreds of relatively low molecular weight compounds found in fuel blends.

Scanning electron microscope (SEM)

The particulate matter (PM) from an engine exhaust can be characterized in size, morphology and fractal geometry by using scanning electron microscopy.

Numerical simulations of in-cylinder processes of fuel injection, mixture formation and combustion as well as the engine performance are conducted using several software packages:

  • Converge CFD
  • AVL software suite, including BOOST and FIRE
  • CD-Adapco Star-CCM+ and Star-CD 4.2 with es-ice module
  • Bespoke software for thermodynamic engine analysis including the calculations of complete chemical kinetics, e.g. in CHEMKIN, DARS format


Prof. Alexey Burluka, DrSc, MInstP, CPhys, FHEA Professor of Future Engineering Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST Phone: +44 (0) 191 227 3754 Email:

Dr Ulugbek Azimov, PhD, FHEA Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST Phone: +44 (0) 191 243 7663 Email: Web:

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