Stringent emission regulations require spark ignited (SI) engines to operate at stoichiometry to enable the use of a three way catalyst (TWC). Thus, accurate prediction of the intake charge mass flow rate is paramount. Current speed-density air mass-flow prediction techniques require extensive calibration for predicting volumetric efficiency, while mass air flow (MAF) meter based approaches suffer from a loss of accuracy during transients. This work aims to provide an alternative, i.e. a model based air charge estimation algorithm that can reduce calibration effort and provide a universal solution across engine platforms. An additional objective is to minimize the number of required sensors and associated cost. The foundation is established with a 0-D physics-based air charge model, where air flow through intake and exhaust valves is modeled on a crank-angle basis, without the need to measure in-cylinder pressure. The proposed algorithm solves differential equations for cylinder pressure and mass flow rate in/out of the cylinder to simultaneously obtain instantaneous pressure and mass-flow estimations, hence eliminating the need to install cylinder pressure transducers. An additional benefit is the robustness of the new model, due to its ability to self-compensate for an error in the intake runner pressure or initial estimation of the cylinder pressure. The model has been validated with GT-Power simulations and steady-state engine tests with multiple actuator sweeps. Transient tests and real-time implementations were performed as well.

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