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The thermodynamic limits to IC engine efficiency


   Aerospace Engineering

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  Dr C Axon, Dr Lionel Ganippa  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The internal combustion engine (ICE) has been the dominant technology used in road transport for almost a century. Despite the increasing use of all-electric powertrains, the ICE will be used widely across the world for a variety of motive power applications for decades to come. Environmental legislation drives the development of EVs (in developed nations), but the take-up rate is driven by the economics of the relative cost of the ICE and alternative powertrains. The key question for the ICE is how efficient can it get, and how quickly is it reaching the limit. This limit is the 2nd law efficiency and remains an unsolved problem. From first principles, the aim is to determine how much ICE technology may improve in the conversion of chemical energy into work, and to determine the maximum potential for energy availability, heat transfer, and the ability to do work. Vehicle manufacturers continue to invest significant sums into ICE development and globally the demand for cars continues to rise; there is a strong case for a more fundamental understanding, even for those investing in alternative powertrains.

Applicants will have or be expected to receive a first or upper‐second class honours degree in Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics or a similar discipline. A Postgraduate Masters degree is not required but may be an advantage. Good mathematical skills are essential. In addition, applicants should be highly motivated, able to work in a team and independently, collaborate with others and have good communication skills.


Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.
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