Mechanical Development
& Durability
Office of Automotive Engineering

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Typical engine installation being readied to begin testing.

Typical engine installation being readied to begin testing.

Engineers at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) routinely conduct long-term engine and powertrain testing on a continuous basis to verify engine and component durability and reliability. More than 200 well equipped engine, powertrain and component test cells are available at SwRI and many of these operate around the clock on a 24/7 basis. For more than 40 years, SwRI has performed engine evaluation, validation, durability and reliability testing on engines that vary in fuel types, sizes, and applications.

Available fuels for complete engine tests include diesel, gasoline, biofuels, ethanol, methanol, compressed and liquefied natural gas, LPG, hydrogen and ammonia.

Test Capabilities

  • Altitude simulation to 3,000 meters
  • Hot vibration testing
  • Hydraulic high cycle fatigue testing
  • Low ambient temperature (-35°C)
  • Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)
  • Thermal cycling
  • Strain and temperature measurement for CAE model validation
  • Valvetrain dynamic testing
  • Cylinder head thermal mapping
  • Ultrasonic bolt stretch measurement (torque specification development)
  • Bore distortion and surface finish measurement
  • Lube and cooling system performance mapping
  • Piston temperature telemetry and other moving component telemetry measurements
  • Radioactive tracer based wear measurement

Component endurance evaluations are frequently conducted on the following products:

Exhaust System components

  • Automotive catalytic converters
  • Diesel catalyst systems
  • Diesel particulate filters (DPFs)
  • Flow diverters and mixers
  • Reductant delivery systems
  • Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valves and coolers

Engine Hardware

  • Brackets
  • Cylinder heads
  • Crankshafts
  • Connecting rods
  • Engine blocks
  • Exhaust manifolds
  • Pistons
  • Rocker arms and push tubes

Related Terminology

electric vehicle  •  pure electric vehicle  •  hybrid electric vehicles  •  hybrid vehicles  •  plug-in hybrid  •  electric powertrains  •  energy storage  •  battery  •  simulation  •  vehicle modeling  •  vehicle system design  •  vehicle development  •  vehicle controls

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.