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An experimental investigation of low viscosity lubricants on three piece oil control rings cylinder liner friction

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journal contribution
posted on 10.01.2022, 11:25 authored by Michael Forder, Nick MorrisNick Morris, Paul KingPaul King, Sashi Balakrishnan, Sebastian Howell-Smith
Reducing energy use and improving engine efficiency is a complex task however to date a continued reduction of lubricant viscosity has proved effective. Reducing viscosity decreases hydrodynamic friction and pumping losses however it can also exacerbate boundary friction losses. Detailed and representative component level experimentation is required to understand the effects of viscosity reduction on friction and opportunity for further optimisation. This paper presents a novel motored reciprocating Tribometer which has been developed to measure the friction between complete cylinder liners and three-piece oil control rings. The system holds individual or multiple rings stationary in a bespoke ring holder and reciprocate the cylinder liner thereby replicates the relative kinematics of the components in service. The new design has many operational advantages to identify and benchmark the individual contribution of oil control ring friction including near total isolation of oil ring-cylinder liner bore conjunction, pure rectilinear motion and use of full components without resorting to split liner/ring geometries. The experimental rig is used to measure friction at the three-piece oil control ring- cylinder liner conjunction when lubricated with two low viscosity lubricants. The results showed prevalence of mixed regime lubrication across the speeds, temperatures and lubricants investigated. The oil control ring under investigation is shown to operate in mixed regime lubrication and at cold start the introduction of lower viscosity lubricants such as 0W-8 showed higher level of oil control ring-cylinder liner friction in comparison to the 0W-40. The information and experimental facility are of critical use for engine designers when considering the potential contradictory component efficiency behaviour when moving to ultra-low viscosity lubricants.


DTP 2016-2017 Loughborough University

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology


SAGE Publications


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© IMechE

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by SAGE Publications under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Dr Nick Morris. Deposit date: 6 January 2022