Argonne helps Caterpillar improve diesel engine design

LEMONT – Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have teamed up 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 engines that could improve fuel efficiency while reducing harmful emissions, Argonne said.

Engineers have run hundreds of high-fidelity simulations to develop promising designs for piston vessels – the combustion chambers of diesel engines. Caterpillar then prototyped the best performing designs using additive manufacturing techniques to validate the model results.

A particularly promising piston bowl design has improved the mixing process between fuel and air, helping to improve efficiency. Researchers found it could reduce fuel consumption by almost 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 United States

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