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Research in the Thermal Propulsion Systems Group, Department of Engineering Science University of Oxford - Thermal Propulsion Systems; Diesel engine combustion and emissions

Diesel engine combustion and emissions

The Group's research activities on diesel engine combustion and emissions have at their heart a major collaborative research program with Jaguar Land Rover.  From 2014-19 the group hosted the University of Oxford/Jaguar Land Rover "Centre of Excellence for Compression Ignition Engine Combustion Research".

The Centre supported both experimental and numerical research with a strong focus on enabling improvements in efficiency and emissions on next generation engines by extending the scientific knowledge. Our state-of-the-art engine test facility, developed in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, for six years supported JLR diesel research. 


A single-cylinder version of the JLR AJ200D "Ingenium" engine, which was very highly instrumented, was used to run experiments in a wide variety of prototype specifications. Measurements within the Centre were performed to exacting standards and much of the research focused on the development of new or improved measurement techniques in order to provide unique data sets for model development and validation.

Much of the work that we performed in the Centre was necessarily confidential; however, much of the work is available in publications, which are listed below.

Principal Investigator:

Dr Martin Davy


Professor Richard Stone, Dr Ben Williams

Post-Doctoral Researcher:

Dr Felix Leach (2014-18)


Liyah Dholiwar (Engine test technician 2016-18)

Nick Papaioannou (Engines lab manager 2018-present)

Graduate Research Students:

Nick Papaioannou, Riyaz Ismail

Funding and Support:


Leach FCP, Davy MH, Peckham MS, “Cycle-to-cycle NO & NOx Emissions from a HSDI Diesel Engine”. ASME Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power. 141(8), 081007, 2019, doi:10.1115/1.4043218

Papaioannou N, Leach FCP, Davy MH, “Thermal analysis of steel and aluminium pistons in a light duty diesel engine”. SAE Technical Paper 2019-01-0546, doi: 10.4271/2019-01-0546

Leach FCP, Davy MH, Peckham MS, “Cyclic NO2:NOx ratio from a diesel engine undergoing transient load steps”. International Journal of Engine Research. Vol xx, Issue x, pp. xxx–xxx, 2019, doi: 10.1177/1468087419833202

Papaioannou N, Leach FCP, Davy MH, “Effect of thermocouple size on the measurement of internal combustion engine exhaust gas temperature”. SAE Technical Paper 2018-01-1765, 2018. doi: 10.4271/2018-01-1765

Leach FCP, Davy MH, and Peckham MS, "Cycle-to-cycle NO & NOx Emissions from a HSDI Diesel Engine", ASME 2018 Internal Combustion Engine Fall Technical Conference, San Diego, CA, USA, November 2018. doi: 10.1115/ICEF2018-9772

Leach FCP, Ismail RI, Davy MH, “Engine-out emissions from a modern high speed diesel engine - the importance of Nozzle Tip Protrusion”. Applied Energy, Vol 226, pp. 340–352 Sep 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.05.117

Leach FCP, Ismail RI, Davy MH, Weall A, and Cooper, B, “The effect of a stepped lip piston design on performance and emissions from a high-speed diesel engine”. Applied Energy, Vol 215, pp. 679–689 Apr 2018, doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.02.076

Leach FCP, Davy MH, Siskin D, Pechstedt R, and Richardson D, “An optical method for measuring exhaust gas pressure from an internal combustion engine at high speed”. Review of Scientific Instruments. Vol 88, Issue 12 125004, 2018 doi:10.1063/1.5005161

Papaioannou N, Leach FCP, Davy MH, Weall A, Cooper B, “Evaluation of EGR techniques on a HSDI diesel engine using first law analysis”. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering. Vol 233, Issue 3, pp. 710–726. doi:10.1177/0954407017749110

Leach, FCP, Davy, MH, Weall, A, and Cooper, B, “Comparing the effect of a swirl flap and asymmetric inlet valve opening on a light duty Diesel engine”. SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-2429, 2017. doi:10.4271/2017-01-2429

Ismail, RI, Leach, FCP, Davy, MH, Richardson, D, and Cooper, B, "Computational investigation of the effects of piston geometry on the combustion evolution in a light duty HSDI engine", ASME 2017 Internal Combustion Engine Fall Technical Conference, Seattle, WA, USA, September 2017. doi:10.1115/ICEF2017-3588

Leach FCP, Ismail RI, Davy MH, Weall A, and Cooper, B, “Comparing the Effect of Fuel/Air Interactions in a Modern High-Speed Light-Duty Diesel Engine”. SAE Technical Paper 2017-24-0075, 2017. doi:10.4271/2017-24-0075