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Tenneco´s award-winning Prime 3D simulation cuts engine cylinder component development time by up to 70pc


At the 2019 IAA Frankfurt (Hall 4.1, September 10 – 13, Press and Trade days only), Tenneco´s Powertrain division will present its award-winning Prime 3D simulation software which has been shown to cut development time for engine cylinder components by up to 70 per cent.

An industry first, the software tool enables the generation of a physically realistic virtual model of the power cylinder unit in a running combustion engine during the design process, allowing emissions and fuel consumption reductions to be achieved through the early optimization of piston and piston ring design.

“All application sectors around the world are facing increasingly difficult emissions and fuel economy challenges, and growing pressures to reduce engine and component development time and costs without compromising quality, reliability or performance,” said Gian Maria Olivetti, Vice President Global Engineering, Tenneco Powertrain. “Prime 3D can provide a ‘right first time’ design at an early stage of the engine development process, eliminating many iterations of design, prototyping and physical testing.”

Combining 20 years of cumulative engine know-how with the most advanced simulation tools, Prime 3D enables the optimization of piston and piston ring performance with an accuracy level close to 95 per cent. It has already supported engine manufacturers in more than 450 projects to achieve emissions targets on relevant driving cycles such as WLTP. Successfully completed developments have shown reductions of up to 70 per cent in blow-by; up to 20 per cent in friction; up to 40 per cent in oil consumption; and up to 70 per cent in particulate emissions.

Prime 3D is unique because it combines accurate simulation of both gas flow physics and physical behavior of the power cylinder unit to provide a clear vision of the effects of potential design changes. It solves the physics of compressible fluid flow through the clearances of the piston and the closed gap of the piston ring under conditions of subsonic gas flow in real engine operating conditions.

The detailed calculation of gas flow and its pressure gradients is fundamental in predicting the reactions and behavior of a real running combustion engine. Prime 3D has the capability to determine pressure gradients, heat exchange and gas velocity in the flow channels. This is important, as the magnitude of the gas pressure contributes directly to the reaction forces, twisting and arching of the piston rings.

“Prime 3D simulation makes friction, oil consumption and blow-by loss data for any piston and ring pack directly visible under all driving cycle conditions,” explained Dr. Steffen Hoppe, Director of Technology, Global Rings & Liners, Tenneco Powertrain. “This allows accurate and immediate assessment of the effects of design changes on emissions and fuel consumption without requiring multiple iterations of physical prototypes. It is particularly valuable in helping customers gain early confidence that new designs will produce optimum results under test conditions of relevant driving cycles, not just at maximum power and torque,” Richard Mittler, Senior Expert, Pre-Development and Analysis, Global Rings & Liners, at Tenneco Powertrain added.

Input data for the simulation can be simply transferred from design drawings using the “drag & drop” functionality provided by the Prime 3D Wizard. Powerful animations combine 2D and 3D results to produce easily interpreted output, enabling rapid identification of potential design improvements. To enhance customer interaction, Prime 3D has been developed as a web-based server solution, providing users with secure worldwide access to their developments and improving communication between different locations.