Currently, fixed displacement pumps are typically used to provide the oil flow required for actuation of the clutches, cooling, and lubrication of automatic transmissions. This results in significant power losses as excess flow at higher engine speeds is throttled through orifices back to the tank. Therefore, the use of variable displacement pumps to supply the required oil flow can reduce the overall fuel consumption of the vehicle by eliminating this excess flow at high engine speeds. This paper presents the development and experimental validation setup of a model for a pressure compensated pivoting-cam-type variable displacement vane pump (VDVP) that is suitable for these applications. The pump operates at low system pressures (typically ∼5 bar with maximum 20 bar) with significant amounts of entrained air present in the working fluid (typically 3% by volume at the delivery) over a wide range of input speeds (700–6000 rpm). These conditions, along with a combination of a highly dynamic flow demand and dynamically changing pressure compensation setting, result in pump instabilities and loss of controllability. Previously, high leakage flow rates were introduced into the cam displacement control volume in an attempt to stabilize the pump with limited improvements. A high fidelity simulation model of the VDVP displacement chambers and cam displacement control volume pressure development was created in MATLAB/Simulink to accurately predict pump flow rates and cam dynamics in order to investigate these instabilities and methods for increasing the controllability of the VDVP. Additionally, the model provides a platform to assess the system sensitivity to changes in fluid/air mixture ratio, vane spacing, bias spring rate, and pump outlet pressure. A modified pump that was instrumented to measure the pressure gradients within each displacement chamber at the transitions between the suction and delivery ports under realistic operating conditions is presented. The modified pump was also instrumented with a linear variable displacement transducer (LVDT) to directly measure cam position during pump operation on an experimental test bed incorporating actual control valves found in an automatic transmission.

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