86462 - Powertrain testing, Calibration and Homologation

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Affordable and clean energy Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Course contents

  • Engine and dynamometer installation. The main types of dynamometers and the corresponding criteria for choosing the right one.
  • Sensors and instrumentation to be used in a test cell environment.
  • Exhaust gas emissions measurement and control.
  • Homologation procedures and regulations.
  • Signal acquisition systems and signal post-processing systems. Data analysis and interpretation.
  • Engine calibration. Design of Experiments methodology and test cell automation systems.
The class lectures will offer an introduction to several experimental test sessions that will be carried out in the engine test cell. During such experimental activity, calibration procedures will be demonstrated, and both nominal and faulty conditions will be tested on the engine, to analyze the engine control system performance and the main diagnostic functions implemented in the Engine Control Unit.


Handouts concerning some elements of the program, exercises and examples, are available on AMS Campus. The following list presents the main publications that could be used by the students to deepen specific topics, or to complement their background on the subject.

  • "Introduction to modeling and control of internal combustion engine systems", L. Guzzella, C. H. Onder, Springer-Verlag, 2004.
  • “Engine Testing", M. Plynt, A. Martyr, Ed. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007.

Teaching methods

The course is held in English. The theoretical aspects of engine testing are introduced during class lectures, while the experimental activity in the test cell should provide hands-on applications of engine-dynamometer control and measurement systems. Finally, Matlab-based sessions will introduce the students to data pre- and post-processing, with a calibration-oriented approach (possibly, each student will use a personal computer running Matlab during such sessions). The educational material is uploaded before each lecture on the University online platform.

Attendance is strongly recommended for better learning of concepts and methodologies, but does not affect the final evaluation process.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] online, while Module 3 on health and safety is to be attended in class. Information about Module 3 attendance schedule is available on the website of your degree programme

Assessment methods

Learning assessment is finalized through a final oral examination, which takes place for about 60-90 minutes, answering a few questions in writing (diagrams, equations, diagrams, drawings, ...) and then discussing them with the instructor. The student can also produce a report about the analysis of experimental data acquired during test cell activity.

This test is intended to verify the student knowledge about the main subjects of the course. The final vote takes into account the ability to solve problems in the matters discussed during the lectures, and the acquisition of engineering methodologies for developing, testing and calibrating automotive powertrains.

The evaluation, expressed in thirtieths, will be higher the more the student is:

  • autonomous in articulating answers to the questions and mathematical procedures for data pre- and post-processing;
  • exhaustive in explaining the topics and the experimental approach to powertrain testing;
  • capable of synthesizing the most important parameters and relationships through graphs, sketches, and schematics.
During the exam, students are not allowed to use the lecture notes or other material and they are required to have an identity document.

Teaching tools

Slides and audio-visual supports will be used throughout the course.

Class notes will be distributed to the students through the University online platform before each lecture.

Also, the experimental data and the scripts that will be acquired and developed during the test-cell and Matlab-based sessions will be made available to the students.

Office hours

See the website of Nicolò Cavina