Using Computational Modeling to Design Cleaner, More Fuel-Efficient Motor Vehicles

Today’s motor vehicles that use conventional fuel contribute substantially to air pollution and global warming, yet it is virtually impossible to imagine the modern world without these vehicles. In fact, the worldwide fleet will only increase in years to come, so we can expect that emission standards will continue to get progressively tighter in order to protect the environment and human health. We can also predict a related surge in the worldwide demand for oil to propel all of these vehicles. With two out of every three people now concerned about global warming, and governments concerned with the economic and political implications of rising oil prices, new power train technologies are needed to deliver zero, or near zero, emissions in addition to improved fuel economy. Replacement of conventionally powered vehicles with alternatively powered vehicles will likely accelerate as the new power train technologies mature. In the meantime, the focus will remain on improving the existing, conventional engine designs and relying on after treatment devices to clean up emissions. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software can play a valuable role in identifying cleaner, more fuel-efficient alternatives that improve engine designs. This paper discusses the scope and impact of the problem, and explains how CFD can be used to analyze emission controlling devices and contribute to the achievement of emission standards.



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