Propulsion System facilities available at the University of Bath

The automotive propulsion facilities currently available at the University of Bath consist of a range of test cells designed to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the real world

  • Our chassis dynamometer facility combines three key facets, precision, flexibility and data availability. This enables us to observe the interactions between real usage factors and the widest possible range of new technologies. The facility unites the ability to replicate on-road, real-world driving scenarios with the experimental accuracy and repeatability of the lab environment. It is available to academic groups and industry for a range of activities including:

    • Consultancy
    • Contract funded and collaborative research
    • Fundamental research within the powertrain context
    • Technical and environmental assessment of alternative technologies
    • Jointly staffed research activities
  • The infrastructure of the chassis dynamometer includes:

    • 4WD AVL RoadSim 48” Chassis Dynamometer
    • Climatically controlled temperature range of -10°C to +50°C
    • 200kW max total continuous power with 250kW short term 10s overload
    • AVL ‘4x2’ motor-in-the-middle chassis dynamometer configuration
    • Class-leading, low-parastitic losses, fast response time, high force accuracy and high precision
    • For hybrid vehicles, we have 2 off ETPS DC LAB-GSS power supply racks for battery emulation
    • For combustion and electrical power analysis, we have Dewetron portable 32 Channel high bandwidth data acquisition (1MS/s, 16 bit) including 8 channel crank-synchronous combustion and electrical power analysis
  • Our automotive propulsion facility at the University of Bath also consists of three dynamic engine research cells:

    • A flexible 200 kW transient AC dynamometer facility for engine testing over realistic cycles. This includes control and data acquisition systems which allow control over engine, rig and fuel injection system
    • A tandem transient AC dynamometer configuration with a capacity of up to 400kW. This dynamic engine test facility has been used mainly for gasoline engine research in the area of automated engine calibration but is capable of multi-fuel operation. The cell temperature can be controlled to within 1°C
    • A McClure 215kW transient AC dynamometer. This is our most highly specified dynamic engine test facility and delivers exceptional test precision and the highest level of test cell integration
    • Our suite of three dynamic engine test cells is served by a central emissions measurement capability. Fast response instruments complement the industry standard tools
  • Our advanced transmission research facility enables performance evaluation studies to be undertaken on a wide range of transmissions including manual, automatic, auto-shift manual and continuously/infinitely variable transmissions (CVTs/IVTs). This advanced transmission research facility features an ABB twin dyno and drive system capable of 109kW continuous rating.

    • This facility is connected to a fully populated CP Engineering Cadet V-12 control and data acquisition system. This allows for accurate recording of multiple data channels simultaneously

360 image of chassis dyno

New facilities available at IAAPS

IAAPS will be truly unique, both by its structure and operation. The facility will contain new technically-advanced capabilities which will support cutting edge innovation in the field of powertrain technology from complete vehicle projects featuring IC engines, hybrid systems or pure EVs; through to powertrain subsystems such as engines, electric motors, transmissions, inverters and batteries within the powertrain system; to deep understanding of component behaviours in turbochargers, engine valve train dynamics or clutch characterisation. Our approach is to blend a deep understanding of the components’ behaviour through modelling with physical evaluation to develop innovative systems which perform efficiently in the real world. In total we will have 17 Research and Innovation Cells. These will include:

  • State of the art 3E and 5E powertrain dynamometers capable of re-creating highly dynamic, real world events in a laboratory environment to analyse transmission, battery, E-machine and IC engine systems. These cells are equipped to 750kW with up to 500kW of battery emulation together with full emissions and electrical power analysis capability. High transient absorbers allow these facilities to integrate with dynamic vehicle modelling software bringing the capability of real world driveline development to the lab well ahead of vehicle readiness.

  • Climatic control rolling roads to evaluate and optimise complete vehicle performance in real world driving conditions. Our 250kW climatic control four wheel drive rolling roads will evaluate and optimise complete vehicle emissions, efficiency and performance in real world driving conditions and will deliver environmental capabilities from -10°C to +40°C. Our chassis dynamometers are equipped with robot drivers which ensure maximum repeatability. These facilities encompass a soak area for vehicle stabilisation with capacity for up to 9 vehicles. There are two thermal chambers which can drop down to -10°C to prepare vehicles for low temperature work. These cells are equipped with electrical power analysis and a full suite of highly capable conventional and FTIR emissions analysers.

  • Highly dynamic, high speed capable dynamometer facilities to deliver research around the complexity of hybrid propulsion optimisation and support the transition to increased electrification and autonomous vehicles. In total, we will have seven propulsion cells. This highly flexible suite of cells has a capability ranging from the highest rated cell at 750kW to the smallest capacity cell at 150kW. Our electric motor capability offers speeds of up to 30,000 rpm with configurable bi-directional battery emulation up to 500kW per cell at a maximum of 1100 volts and full transient electrical power measurement. This means that IAAPS can work with electric motors, hybrid architectures, batteries, inverters or fuel cells in support of increasing legislative and consumer demand for ultra-low and zero emissions technology. Our largest propulsion cell will be equipped to handle a 750kW engine, this will give us the capability to work on the leading high performance IC engines together with the flexibility to develop the high torque engine technology seen in heavy duty and off highway vehicles.

  • Hot gas stands for studying advanced turbomachinery concepts and waste heat recovery systems. By driving the turbine with heat compressed air, IAAPS can undertake turbomachinery research at temperatures of up to 750°C and flow rates of up to 150kg per hour. Our facility includes the capability of engine flow pulse simulation and the ability to test twin entry systems with unequal intake conditions. The gas stands are designed to be highly flexible with the base capability to cover a wide range of industry’s needs going forward for at least the next twenty years.

  • There will also be an additional three fully flexible cells which can be configured as needed for system and subsystem investigation or future facility growth.

IAAPS will help deliver cutting edge experimental research underpinned by scientific enquiry, enabling advancements in computational predicative capabilities, validated by data that is realistic and precise. IAAPS is designed with people, business and education in mind. The open access and multi-party research and innovation approach is unique, promoting collaboration and sharing of ideas and enabling partners to work hand in hand on breakthrough technologies.

To enjoy an immersive tour of our new facility, click here