RWTH Aachen University performs since many years as the top ranked technical University of Excellence in Germany. Joint research with industry and large collaborative research centers are a particular strength of RWTH Aachen University.
At the Institute for Combustion Engines (VKA) mainly fundamental research projects, but also applied research issues concerning the vehicle powertrain are elaborated. Research focuses on the investigation of flow analysis, fuel preparation and combustion with the purpose of energy saving and engine-related avoidance of emission generation as well as on exhaust gas aftertreatment with the help of catalysts and particle filters. Moreover, alternative fuels like natural gas, alcohol fuels and hydrogen with respect to their use in vehicles are examined. Further main areas are innovative engine designs, the examination of engine friction and of the acoustical behavior of combustion engines. Furthermore, VKA intensively works on the development of measuring technologies for the research on combustion engines as well as on optimizing testing methods for engine test procedures and vehicle calibration. In addition, actual research projects concentrate on hybrid powertrain concepts and fuel cell systems. The junior professorship “Mechatronic Systems for Combustion Engines” under the direction of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jakob Andert addresses the interaction of distributed real time networks and the linking of test benches with a virtual shaft connection as research focus. Hereto, the Center for Mobile Propulsion (CMP) supported by DFG (German research funding organization) is available. In this newly and worldwide unique testing center, different testing facilities are connected and able to communicate via a fast real time network.
The Institute for Combustion Engines moreover runs 33 engine test benches, an air-conditioned emission chassis dynamometer and a highly dynamic (transient) test bench, which are all equipped with modern, high-quality exhaust gas measuring systems. Furthermore, special test benches for flow analyses, fuel cells and engine components as well as special acoustical measuring and evaluation systems are provided. The Institute has the following laboratory and technical areas available: chemistry laboratory, measuring technology laboratory, electronic laboratory, mechanical workshop and test bench workshop. At the institute’s own chemistry laboratory, ambitious chemical analyses, for example of particle or oil samples can be conducted. The electronic laboratory develops and produces high-quality electronic components for the test bench operation and other scientific applications. Furthermore, both workshops take over the in-house manufacturing of mechanically large-scale engine and test bench components as well as the setup of engine test benches.