Undergraduate Teaching

Engineering Tripos Part IIB, 4A13: Combustion and Engines, 2021-22

Engineering Tripos Part IIB, 4A13: Combustion and Engines, 2021-22

Not logged in. More information may be available... Login via Raven / direct.

PDF versionPDF version

Module Leader

Prof N Swaminathan


Prof N Swaminathan and Prof S Hochgreb

Lab Leader

Prof N Swaminathan

Timing and Structure

Lent term. 16 lectures, including 2 examples classes. Assessment: 100% exam


3A5, 3A6 useful


The aims of the course are to:

  • introduce students to fundamental combustion concepts, and their influence on internal combustion engine preformance and emissions.


As specific objectives, by the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Understand fundamental concepts in combustion
  • Understand combustion issues particularly relvant to gas turbines
  • Understand the performance and efficiency characteristics of IC engines
  • Understand the formation and aftertreatment of pollutants in IC engines, and tradeoffs with performance


Chemical thermodynamics and equilibrium (1L)

Conservation laws for multicomponent mixture, multispecies equilibrium and calculation method

Chemical kinetics (1L)

Principles of chemical kinetics – law of mass action, activation energy, order & degree of a reaction, hydrocarbon reaction chains
, pollutant formation 
multistep reactions, chemical explosion, chemistry reduction using steady state and partial equilibrium approximations

Applications of chemical kinetics: limit reators (1L)

Common approximations used in combustion analysis – perfectly stirred reactor, plug flow reactor, thermal explosions, autoignition & spark ignition

Laminar premixed flames (1L)

Concepts and measurements,
 conservation equations in one and multiple dimensions, characteristic time and space scales, Zeldovich number, solution for 1D flame, flame speed and its dependence on mixture composition, temperature and pressure

Laminar non-premixed flames (1L)

Mixture fraction concept and its physical significance, conserved scalar approach, state relationship, simple solution for diffusion flame, droplet evaporation & combustion as an example for diffusion flame

Pollution from combustion (1L)

Nature of pollutants emitted by combustion and their effects on environment & human health, features of pollution generation chemistry, typical techniques used for emission reduction

Turbulent combustion (1L)

A brief introduction to turbulent combustion, its importance, applications, and scientific methods used to study turbulent combustion

Fundamental concepts in internal combustion engines (2L)

Overview of energy use in transportation, evolution of internal combustion and reciprocating engines, basic concepts and definitions, ideal constant volume and constant pressure cycles, efficiency, turbocharging and hybridisation

Spark ignition engines (1L)

Basic concepts and definitions, valve timing and volumetric efficiency, residual gases, intake and fuel injection systems, combustion in SI engines, autoignition and limits to combustion, spark timing and optimisation, effects of speed and load, SI engine maps, emissions

Compression ignition engines (1L)

Compression ignition process parameters, combustion under autoignition, fuel injection timing, torque and emissions, controlling NOx and soot, CI engine maps, principles of turbocharging and relevant physics, turbocharger matching

Emissions and aftertreatment (2L)

Combustion and engine out emissions, three-way catalysts, air-fuel ratio control, methods of in-cylinder control of NOx and soot, air-fuel ratio control, exhaust gas recirculation, selective catalytic reduction, particulate matter removal

Hybrid engines and future concepts (2L)

New developments in combustion engines. Hybrid powertrain concepts and designs (series, parallel), downsizing, turbocharging, electric powertrain efficiency and control concepts.


Please refer to the Booklist for Part IIB Courses for references to this module, this can be found on the associated Moodle course.

Examination Guidelines

Please refer to Form & conduct of the examinations.


The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) describes the requirements that have to be met in order to become a Chartered Engineer, and gives examples of ways of doing this.

UK-SPEC is published by the Engineering Council on behalf of the UK engineering profession. The standard has been developed, and is regularly updated, by panels representing professional engineering institutions, employers and engineering educators. Of particular relevance here is the 'Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes' (AHEP) document which sets out the standard for degree accreditation.

The Output Standards Matrices indicate where each of the Output Criteria as specified in the AHEP 3rd edition document is addressed within the Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering Triposes.

Last modified: 20/05/2021 07:41