23 February, 2021
Johannes Maucher


Deep feature learning of in-cylinder flow fields to analyze cycle-to-cycle variations in an SI engine

The joint work of Mercedes Benz AG, Technical University Darmstadt and HdM Stuttgart on Deep feature learning of in-cylinder flow fields has been published in the International Journal of Engine Research. The research work was primarily driven by the Masterthesis of our CSM student Daniel Dreher.


Machine learning (ML) models based on a large data set of in-cylinder flow fields of an IC engine obtained by high-speed particle image velocimetry allow the identification of relevant flow structures underlying cycle-to-cycle variations of engine performance. To this end, deep feature learning is employed to train ML models that predict cycles of high and low in-cylinder maximum pressure. Deep convolutional autoencoders are self-supervised-trained to encode flow field features in low dimensional latent space. Without the limitations ascribable to manual feature engineering, ML models based on these learned features are able to classify high energy cycles already from the flow field during late intake and the compression stroke as early as 290 crank angle degrees before top dead center (−290°CA) with a mean accuracy above chance level. The prediction accuracy from −290°CA to −10°CA is comparable to baseline ML approaches utilizing an extensive set of engineered features. Relevant flow structures in the compression stroke are revealed by feature analysis of ML models and are interpreted using conditional averaged flow quantities. This analysis unveils the importance of the horizontal velocity component of in-cylinder flows in predicting engine performance. Combining deep learning and conventional flow analysis techniques promises to be a powerful tool for ultimately revealing high-level flow features relevant to the prediction of cycle-to-cycle variations and further engine optimization.

Paper Access: International Journal of Engine Research.