Engine Research Group
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The Engines Research Group (ERG at the University of Nottingham boasts a total of 12 independent engine test cells and a rolling road.

Our facilities for experimental studies are excellent and we are highly active in the development of computer aided engineering tools based on computational/analytical models. These include:

  • PROMETS (Program for Modelling Engine Thermal Systems)
  • PROMEX (Program for Modelling Exhaust Systems)
  • CECSP (Cold Emissions Cycle Simulation Program)
  • Nu-Sim, a powertrain-in-vehicle performance simulation code for systems performance analysis and simultaneous engineering studies


Antonino La Rocca working in the soot diagnostics suite.

View more information about our soot diagnostics suite


Computational studies are also performed, using Kiva-3v release 2 CFD code, to acquire a useful insight on spatial and temporal variation of quantities which control combustion and pollutant formation.

Our facilities include:

Nanostructure diagnostics for soot-in-oil agglomerates

Over time soot-in-oil builds up to levels which modify the performance of the oil and limit the engine service interval. Soot leads to oil thickening which increases the effective viscosity and worsens fuel economy and levels of CO2 emitted. Soot reduces the effectiveness of anti-wear additives and its effect on wear depends upon the characteristics of the particles and agglomerates of soot.

Lubricant analysis facilities include:

  • Monitoring Oil Degradation - PerkinElmer Spectrum 100 FTIR
  • Workbench for sample preparation - Centrifuge & Solvent Extraction
  • Transition Electron Microscopy – TEM/HRTEM
  • Soot particles number and size distribution - Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis

View our soot diagnostics
suite page

Monitoring oil degradation
Soot in oil characterisation





Optical diesel combustion bomb

A mobile experimental test rig for analysis of diesel combustion within a pressurised optical vessel.

Combustion bomb features:

  • 1000 bar fuel rail pressure
  • Glow plug temperature control
  • High speed photography applications
  • self contained and mobile test facility

Engine test cell 1

A motored floating liner friction rig occupies test cell 1. Research is carried out on this machine in order to further understanding of the individual contribution of piston rings and piston skirt friction under a range of operating conditions.


Engine test cell 2

Test cell 2 contains a four cylinder Diesel engine with variable valve actuation (VVA). Work is being carried out to understand potential fuel savings and emissions reductions from this technology that also facilitates cylinder deactivation.


Engine test cell 3

A single cylinder engine used for study of diesel engine cold start is installed in test cell 3. A Ricardo Hydra block has been equipped with Ford Puma internals to investigate the impact of reduced compression ratio at start temperatures down to -20ºC.

Engine test cell 3



Engine test cell 4

Test cell 4 is currently home to a 2.0 litre direct injection gasoline engine that is being used to investigate a wide range of fuel saving techniques. This test engine is also used to study exhaust energy recovery devices and new low viscosity prototype lubricants.


Engine test cell 5

Test cell 5 houses a 1.6l gasoline engine with variable valve timing and a hot coolant storage tank. This engine is used for thermal management research.


Engine test cell 6

A 1.6L gasoline engine that is used for ethanol fuel research is installed in test cell 6.

Engine test cell 6



Engine test cell 7

A diesel engine equipt with switchable piston cooling oil jets is installed in test cell 7. This engine has been used for a number of research projects including a 3 year study of the use of biodiesel.

Engine test cell 7



Engine test cell 8

Test cell 8 is a low temperature enclosure with a motored diesel engine block that is used to assess the effect of surface finish on crankshaft frictrion. Reducing oil flow to promote bearing warmup has also been investigated on this rig.

Engine test cell 8



Engine test cell 9

Test cell 9 contains a prototype gasoline engine that is being used to investigate fuel consumption reduction techniques.


Engine test cell 10

A single cylinder engine with capability to change the offset between piston and crank axis is installed to test cell 10.

Engine test cell 10



Engine test cell 11

Test cell 11 is currently vacant.


Engine test cell 12

A 1.4l gasoline engine within a cold chamber occupies test cell 12. The chamber can be cooled down to -20°C to simulate cold starts. The engine is run on ethanol/gasoline blended fuel to study cold starting performance. The engine has various hardware modifications to improve cold start ability and reduce emissions.

Engine test cell 12



Engine Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD