Design Optimization of an Oil-Air Catch Can Separation System


The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system in a car engine is designed to lower the pressure in the crankcase, which otherwise could lead to oil leaks and seal damage. The rotation of crankshaft in the crankcase causes the churn up of oil which conducts to occurrence of oil droplets which in turn may end in the PCV exhaust air intended to be re-injected in the engine admission. The oil catch can (OCC) is a device designed to trap these oil droplets, allowing the air to escape from the crankcase with the lowest content of oil as possible and thus, reducing the generation and emission of extra pollutants during the combustion of the air-fuel mixture. The main purpose of this paper is to optimize the design of a typical OCC used in many commercial cars by varying the length of its inner tube and the relative position of the outlet from radial to tangential fitting to the can body. For this purpose, CFD parametric analysis is performed to compute a one-way coupled Lagrangian-Eulerian two-phase flow simulation of the engine oil droplets driven by the air flow stream running through the device. The study was performed using the finite volume method with second-order spatial discretization scheme on governing equations in the Solid Works-EFD CFD platform. The turbulence was modelled using the k-? model with wall functions. Numerical results have proved that maximum efficiency is obtained for the longest inner tube and the tangential position of the outlet; however, it is recommended further investigation to assess the potential erosion on the bottom of the can under such a design configuration.

Share and Cite:

Abilgaziyev, A. , Nogerbek, N. and Rojas-Solórzano, L. (2015) Design Optimization of an Oil-Air Catch Can Separation System. Journal of Transportation Technologies, 5, 247-262. doi: 10.4236/jtts.2015.54023.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Digsy (2005) Blow-By Breather Systems—Part One. [Online].
[2] AutoZone (n.d.) Schematic of the Positive Crankshaft Ventilation (PCV) System Air Flow in V6 and V8 Engines. [Online].
[3] Filter Manufactures Council (n.d.) Positive Crankcase Ventilation. Technical Bulletin 94-2R1, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, Washington DC. [Online].'s/94-2R1.pdf
[4] Ding, G. (2011) Study on Extenics Information Fusion Method. International Journal of Engineering and Manufacturing, 1, 13-19.
[5] Bhatt, E.V. (2013) 4-Stroke Engine. [Online].
[6] Bolduc, J., Wentworth, F., Matthew, D. and Mackenzie, D. (2013) Oil-Air Vapor Separator. Capstone Project, University of Maine, Orono.
[7] Bowman, C. (n.d.) 1999-2004 Mustang Catch Can Uses & Explanations. [Online].
[8] Michael, J. (2013) Oil Catch Cans—What You Should Know—How They Work. The Torque Post. [Online].
[9] Mishimoto (2013) Mishimoto Baffled Oil Catch Can. Technical Spec, Mishimoto Research and Development, New Castle. [Online].
[10] Henderson, C.B. (1976) Drag Coefficients of Spheres in Continuum and Rarefied Flows. AIAA Journal, 14, 707-708.
[11] Carlson, D.J. and Hoglund, R.F. (1964) Particle Drag and Heat Transfer in Rocket Nozzles. AIAA Journal, 2, 1980-1984.
[12] Vann, D.L. (1997) Crankcase Breating. [Online]
[13] Ha, D. (2015) Pressure and Temperature Behavior in the Combustion Chamber of a 4-Stroke Engine. [Online]
[14] Oil Catch Cans. What Are PCV Oil Catch Cans? Accessed on 16 April 2014.
[15] Nabi, N., Akhter, S. and Rahman, A. (2013) Waste Transformer Oil as an Alternative Fuel for Diesel Engine. Procedia Engineering, 56, 401-406.
[16] Lam, S.S., Russell, A.D., Lee, C.L., Lam, S.K. and Chase, H.A. (2012) Production of Hydrogen and Light Hydrocarbons as a Potential Gaseous Fuel from Microwave-Heated Pyrolysis of Waste Automotive Engine Oil. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 30, 5011-5021.
[17] Newagemuscle2010ss (2014) Elite Engineering Catch Can. Results @ 1500 Miles. [Online Video]
[18] Guilford, G. (2014) A Big Reason Beijing Is Polluted: The Average Car Goes 7.5 Miles Per Hour. Quartz. [Online]
[19] Smith, B.J. and Holness, M.H. (2005) Oil Mist Detection in the Atmosphere of the Machine Rooms. Marine Propulsion Conference. Bilbao, January 2005.
[20] Roache, P.J. (1998) Technical Reference of Computational Fluid Dynamics. Hermosa Publishers, Albuquerque.
[21] Hirsch, C. (1988) Numerical Computation of Internal and External Flows. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester.
[22] Glowinski, R. and Tallec, P.L. (1989) Augmented Lagrangian Methods and Operator-Splitting Methods in Nonlinear Mechanics. SIAM, Philadelphia.
[23] Marchuk, G.I. (1982) Methods of Numerical Mathematics. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
[24] Samarskii, A.A. (1989) Theory of Difference Schemes. Nauka, Moscow. (In Russian)
[25] Patankar, S.V. (1980) Numerical Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow. Hemisphere, Washington DC.
[26] Saad, Y. (1996) Iterative Methods for Sparse Linear Systems. PWS Publishing Company, Boston.
[27] Dassault Systemes (2013) Technical Reference. SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2013. (2-82-2-88).
[28] Dassault Systemes (2013) Technical Reference. SolidWorks Flow Simulation 2013. (2-17-2-22).

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.