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Welcome to the Engine Research Center

"The engine is the ideal teaching tool – it features all of the elements of engineering: materials, fluids, thermodynamics, lubrication, chemistry, electronics, etc. The only thing missing is nuclear reaction."

Phil Myers

The Engine Research Center (ERC) is world-leading research and educational institution dedicated to investigating the fundamental thermo-physical processes that control combustion performance and the pollutant emissions formed during combustion in internal combustion engines. The problems are approached with a unique combination of modeling and experimental capabilities. This work is supported by fundamental studies of fluid mechanics, heat transfer, combustion, sprays, emissions, laser diagnostics and after-treatment systems.

Research in the ERC spans from small spark-ignition engines to heavy-duty diesel engines, and a major focus is on low-temperature modes of combustion.


Engine software from UW spinoff being used around the world

Author: David Tenenbaum

When engine makers announce an improved design promising better fuel economy, lower emissions and more power, Kelly Senecal may smile privately. A good portion of the world’s major engine manufacturers are using engine simulation software developed by his UW spinoff firm, Convergent Science.


New high-powered Evinrude outboard built with UW-Madison software

Author: David Tenenbaum

To understand what happens inside the cylinder of an outboard motor running at 5500 rpm, BRP/Evinrude got some help from an unlikely source: software code originally written to understand the motion of air after an atomic bomb explosion.


2015 SAE John Johnson Award

Prof. Rolf Reitz received the 2015 SAE John Johnson Award for Outstanding Research in Diesel Engines. This award recognizes an engineer whose professional career focuses on outstanding leadership in research to advance the field of diesel engines.

2015 SAE Myers Award for Outstanding Student Paper

ERC graduate Dr. Martin Wissink (now a post-doctoral fellow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory) and Prof. Rolf Reitz received the 2015 SAE Myers Award for Outstanding Student Paper. This award was given in recognition of SAE Paper 2015-01-0856: “Direct Dual Fuel Stratification, a Path to Combine the Benefits of RCCI and PPC.”

Upcoming Engine Training Courses

The Department of Engineering Professional Development in partnership with ERC will be offering several engine training courses in Madison, WI. IC Engine Mechanical Design April 25-27, SI Engine Performance April 28-29, Diesel Engine Performance September 26-27, and Fundamentals of Engine System Controls September 28-30.

ERC will take part in $2.6 Million Award from ARPA-E for Transformational Energy Technology

Madison, WI – The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Engine Research Center (ERC) announced today that it will take part in a $2.6 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The lead institution is ERC spinoff, Wisconsin Engine Research Consultants, WERC, LLC. The funding from this award will be used to develop generator technologies for residential Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems.

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