The DFVR is a flexible experimental tool that enables the study of the incylinder fluid flow process during the intake stroke of a combustion engine. A production or prototype cylinder head can be fitted to the rig and the cylinder bore and piston can be constructed from glass or Perspex. The piston travel and valve lift profiles are input to the control computers. In this way the dynamics of the intake stroke may be simulated.
The use of water or other fluids in the rig means it can be operated at a reduced speed when compared to motored engine studies whilst still showing dynamic similarity of the flow conditions. In certain studies the flow conditions of captive volumes, such as those found within piston bowls and intake ports, can be visualised by the use of transparent pistons, cylinder heads and valves, and a suitable fluid of matched refractive index. An aqueous solution is most often preferred.