History and current direction
The Institute of Vehicle Propulsion Systems at the University of Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU) has been in existence since 01.10.2016 and emerged from the former Institute of Internal Combustion Engines (VKM). It is assigned to the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at the Kaiserslautern location and is headed by Prof. M. Günthner.
The focus of research and education is on the development and research of low-emission and resource-saving vehicle powertrains - this includes component development and optimisation for internal combustion engines and alternative powertrains as well as the development and research of new combustion processes and their interaction with the components of the (hybrid) powertrain - as well as the testing of alternative fuels such as natural/biogas, vegetable oils, alcohol and synthetic fuels. Here, the focus is particularly on reducing CO2 and exhaust emissions under (dynamic) real driving operation conditions.
Other research areas include the recuperation of lost energy (waste heat, braking energy) and the optimisation of operating strategies for vehicle propulsion systems. Target applications include passenger cars as well as heavy-duty and non-road vehicles. A wide range of test systems (including highly dynamic engine test benches, mechanical test benches, single-cylinder engines, exhaust roll test benches) with extensive measurement technology and various simulation tools (1D-/3D-CFD, MKS, FEM) are available for the research work. In addition, the chair has extensive experience in the construction and design of components for internal combustion engines, in particular cylinder heads and valve trains, for which its own design tools are also used in some cases.
The history of the chair goes back to the Institute of Power and Working Machines (KAM), which was founded in 1971 as one of the first chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and was headed until 1997 by Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. H. May until 1997. After Professor May leaves the chair, the chair was initially headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. W. Müller and Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. U. Hattingen. In 2001, Prof. Dr.-Ing. R. Flierl became head of the department and it was renamed "Chair of Combustion Engines" (VKM). Important fields of work of the previous chairs were in particular exhaust gas aftertreatment (e.g. SCR systems) and variable valve trains.