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Professor Matthew Hall in his office.

Professor Matthew Hall in his office.

 

Matthew Hall was elected a Fellow of SAE

Dr. Matthew Hall, the Louis T. Yule Fellow in Engineering and member of the Thermal Fluids Group in Mechanical Engineering, has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Fellow is the highest grade of SAE membership. Established in 1975, it recognizes and honors long-term members who have made a significant impact on society's mobility technology through leadership, research, and innovation. Election to Fellow is an exceptional professional distinction bestowed on around 20 recipients each year.

Dr. Hall was recognized both for his research in the field of automotive engineering, and for his contributions to student vehicle competitions and service to the Society. His research contributions were cited for furthering the understanding of in-cylinder combustion and flows using advanced optical diagnostics and the development of combustion and emissions sensors for internal combustion engines. Dr. Hall frequently teaches the core undergraduate courses ME326 Thermodynamics and ME343 Thermal Fluid Systems.

Matthew Hall also received the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award

In addition, Dr. Hall received the Forest R. McFarland Award. This is a service award that recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions toward the work of the SAE Engineering Meetings Board (EMB) in the planning, development, and dissemination of technical information through technical meetings, conferences, and professional development programs or outstanding contributions to the EMB operations in facilitating or enhancing the interchanges of technical information.

Dr. Hall's Current Projects

One of Dr. Hall's current projects is the development and commercialization of a tailpipe sensor for diesel and direct-injection gasoline engines to measure particulate matter emissions. The sensor measures the mass concentration of carbon soot (black smoke) in vehicle exhaust. As the inventor of the sensor, Dr. Hall and his students have been furthering its development though grants provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and UT's commercialization partner, Salt Lake City, based EmiSense Technologies LLC. EmiSense develops next-generation emissions sensors, combining technical ceramics and advanced signal processing. Smart sensors are the critical enablers for ultra-efficient clean combustion and energy.

One of the first target markets for the sensor is for detecting the failure of diesel particulate filters (DPF). Every new on-road diesel vehicle sold in the U.S. is now equipped with a DPF to comply with the new tougher standards imposed by the Federal government limiting particulate matter emissions. New diesel cars and trucks will not be seen emitting a visible plume of smoke as is common for older vehicles. The UT/EmiSense sensor is designed to signal an on-board failure of the DPF if emissions exceed the minute levels allowed. Other envisioned applications of the sensor include feedback control of the engine if engine-out emissions are too high, and sensing when the DPF needs to be regenerated in a process that burns out the accumulated soot.

Research in the department's lab

In the photo below, Post-doc Dr. Tim Diller, who is working with Dr. Hall, is adjusting the load on the Cummins 6.7 liter turbo-diesel truck engine being used to test the performance of new particulate matter sensor designs. The sensors are placed in the engine exhaust upstream and downstream of the DPF. The outputs signals of the sensors are compared with soot mass concentrations measured gravimetrically using filters.

Post-Doc Tim Diller testing particulate emissions with the Cummins Diesel Engine.)

Post-Doc Tim Diller testing particulate emissions with the Cummins Diesel Engine.

Lead research team members

Dr. Hall is working with another group of Professors and Graduate Research Assistants on engine exhaust waste heat recovery using thermal electrics. This group includes Drs. Li Shi, Jianshi Zhou, and John B. Goodenough of UT and Song Jin at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Thermoelectric Conversion of Waste Heat in Vehicle Exhaust

Typically more than 1/3 of the fuel energy a car or truck uses leaves the tailpipe as waste heat. Solid-state thermoelectric generators that extract heat from the exhaust, turning a portion of it into electrical power are to be developed and tested for this National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy sponsored project (CBET-1048767, Oct 1, 2010-Sept 31, 2013). The project involves developing new high-performance low-cost materials for thermoelectric conversion and methods for directing exhaust heat to the thermoelectric generators. It is a tricky balance; it is desirable to extract as much high-temperature heat as possible for the thermoelectric, but not too much can be removed because the exhaust gases must remain sufficiently hot to maintain the functions of the diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), diesel particulate filter and, if equipped, the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst in the exhaust stream. Other important constraints include the overall size and shape of the heat recovery unit and parasitic losses such as the power required to operate coolant pumps to maintain low temperature on the cool side of the thermoelectric units. Computational models are being developed to understand the trade-offs and operational limits of the heat recovery system. These models will be used to design prototype systems which will be built and tested on a 2008 model-year Cummins 6.7 liter diesel engine.

Modest improvements for a cleaner future

Even modest improvements in engine and vehicle fuel efficiency though concepts such as waste heat recovery will help conserve the world's limited fossil fuel resources and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is not allowable for this to occur, however, at the expense of regional air quality. Particulate emissions from vehicles need to be tightly controlled to maintain healthy air quality. Advanced on-board sensors and diagnostics are required to ensure that vehicle emissions control equipment function properly and receive proper maintenance throughout the lifetime of the vehicle.


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