New Fluid Power Research: Free Piston Engine Based Off-Road Vehicles

We’ve written before about the fluid power research projects coming out of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. Ten new research projects have recently been selected for funding, and a number of these new projects were presented at the Industry/University Engagement Summit at Iowa State. One such project is the Free Piston Engine Based Off-Road Vehicles project, which was presented by Chen Zhang, a student at the University of Minnesota.

This project is focused on the design, control, and testing of free piston engine pumps for off-road vehicles, a potentially transformational architecture.  It will differentiate itself from existing technology approaches by controlling the hydraulic engine, in lieu of variable pumps, to generate the required pressure and flow for the vehicle’s hydraulic actuation systems, including both linear and rotary motions. Solutions to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and energy storage while reducing emissions and environmental impact will be investigated.

This research is still in its initial stages. Industry input is welcome, particularly in providing guidance on the modeling, experimental system design, and applicability of free piston engine technology.

Watch for project updates as the project progresses.

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