Collaboration Leads to New Fuel Injector Prototype at NC State

Posted March 23, 2016

For the past 14 months, NC State has been collaborating with NIAMA-REISSER, LLC, a precision fabricator in Coshocton, Ohio, to design and manufacture a uniquely new and innovative common-rail diesel injector. Led by NC State professors Dr. Gregory Buckner and Dr. Tiegang Fang, researchers have developed a new type of fuel injector that varies the spray of fuel and improves the performance and efficiency of engines.

In a traditional injector, a circular pattern of holes at the injector tip allow fuel to enter the combustion chamber in a fixed geometry. This arrangement of holes can deliver high concentrations of fuel to the cylinder wall, resulting in incomplete combustion, reduced efficiency, and increased emissions. The revolutionary injector developed at NC State lacks this array of fuel openings. Instead, the injector nozzle tip has one large opening that allows fuel to enter the combustion chamber at a variable angle. This allows for more optimal efficiency and reduces emissions in the engine cycle.

To help commercialize the technology, Dr. Fang and Dr. Buckner applied for and received funding from the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund. Their plan was to manufacture a prototype and compare its efficiency and performance to commercial injectors. The university’s research team faced many challenges in designing and machining components for such a radically new injector body. New geometries and parts that had never before been used in common-rail injectors needed to be incorporated while maintaining feasibility and manufacturability.

The NC State team searched for an industrial collaborator to help refine their conceptual designs and fabricate a working prototype. NIAMA-REISSER, LLC, a vehicle and propulsion service manufacturer that develops diesel engines, supermileage vehicles, and engine components, was willing and available to help. NIAMA-REISSER, LLC had a history of collaboration with BOSCH (BEG Group) in developing a proprietary fuel injection system for its CHB-Evo. Internal Combustion Engine. The company not only gave insights into the injector design, but under the leadership of CEO Heinz-Gustav Reisser was able to push the concept ahead in the development stage by working closely with Dr. Buckner, Dr. Fang, and his team.

“NIAMA-REISSER’s expertise has been invaluable in the fabrication of our fuel injector prototype,” said NC State researcher, Shapan Jernigan.

Buckner VGS Photo2
Prototype of the variable spray fuel injector


“It’s honestly a thing of beauty. Heinz really did an excellent job, and he hand-delivered it and stayed to make sure it was set up properly,” said Dr. Greg Buckner.

Buckner VGS Photo4
Components of the fuel injector prior to assembly

“Manufacturing diesel fuel injectors is challenging and generally requires specialized equipment. I was impressed by the quality work done by Heinz,” said Dr. Tiegang Fang.

Comparison of Solidworks 3D model with machined fuel injector

Comparison of Solidworks 3D model with machined fuel injector

The team is currently testing the prototype and working with the Office of Technology Transfer to commercialize the innovation. “It’s exciting to see the prototype being tested and compared to existing fuel injectors. Demonstrating the benefits of this unique variable spray fuel injector will assist in our efforts to license the technology,” said Licensing Associate, Garth Mashmann.

About the company: Founded in 2007, NIAMA-REISSER, LLC is a vehicle and propulsion service manufacturer that develops its own diesel engines, supermileage vehicles, and engine components. They also offer manufacturing and product development services for clients. Learn more about the company here.

About the researchers:

Dr. Gregory Buckner is a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State and an affiliate faculty member with the UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Buckner is interested in modeling, analysis, and control of dynamic systems, electromechanical systems, manufacturing automation, intelligent control, mechatronics.

Dr. Tiegang Fang is an associate professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State. Dr. Fang’s research areas lie in combustion and propulsion, internal combustion engines, exhaust emissions and air pollution control, alternative fuels, renewable energy, spray and atomization, laser diagnostics for reacting flows, energy conversion systems, heat and mass transfer, and fluid mechanics.

Contact: Seth Crossno,