Piston-ring film thickness: theory and experiment compared

Garcia-Atance fatjo, Gonzalo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3914-7160, Smith, Edward H orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0093-4463 and Sherrington, Ian orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1283-9850 (2017) Piston-ring film thickness: theory and experiment compared. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology, 232 (5). pp. 550-567. ISSN 1350-6501

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/1350650117722257


A review of the published literature has demonstrated a large variability and discrepancies in the measured and predicted values of piston-ring lubricating film thickness in internal combustion engines. Only 2 papers have been found that compare experiments in firing engines directly with outputs from sophisticated ring-pack lubrication models. The agreement between theory and experiment in these comparisons was limited, possibly because of inadequacies in the models and/ or inaccuracies of measurement. This paper seeks to contribute to the literature by comparing accurately calibrated experimental measurements of piston-ring film thickness in a firing engine with predictions from an advanced, commercial software package alongside details of the systematic analysis of the measurement errors in this process. Suggestions on how measurement accuracy could be further improved are also given. Measurements of oil film thickness with an error (standard deviation) of +/-15% have been achieved. It is shown that this error can be reduced further, by changes in the design and installation of the sensors.
Detailed experimental measurements of film thickness under the top compression ring in a firing petrol engine have been made and compared with the predictions from a commercial, state-of-the art modelling package. The agreement between theory and experiment is excellent throughout the stroke in most cases, but some significant differences are observed at the lower load conditions. These differences are as yet unexplained, but may be due to the sensor topography influencing the hydrodynamic lubrication, lubricant availability, out-of-roundness in the cylinder, or squeeze effects. This a topic that requires further study

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