Argonne helps Caterpillar improve diesel engine design
LEMONT -- Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have joined forces with Caterpillar Inc. to develop a potential new piston design for heavy-duty diesel engines.
Using Argonne's high-performance computing resources, researchers developed a potential piston design for Caterpillar's engines that could improve fuel efficiency while reducing harmful emissions, Argonne said.
Engineers ran hundreds of high-fidelity simulations to develop promising designs for piston bowls -- the combustion chambers in diesel engines. Caterpillar then created prototypes of the top-performing designs using additive manufacturing techniques to validate the model results.
One particularly promising piston bowl design improved the mixing process between fuel and air, helping to improve the efficiency. Researchers found it could reduce fuel consumption by nearly 1%, a measurable improvement, while reducing soot by up to 20%, Argonne said.
Caterpillar is one of the world's largest manufacturers of construction and mining equipment. Heavy-duty diesel engines still power most large vehicles used in the construction, mining and transportation industries in the U.S.