Oil Control Ring Friction And Low Viscosity Lubricants: A Combined Numerical and Experimental Analysis

Morris, N., Forder, M., Dolatabadi, N., King, P., Rahmani, R., Rahnejat, Homer orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2257-7102 and Howell-Smith, S. (2023) Oil Control Ring Friction And Low Viscosity Lubricants: A Combined Numerical and Experimental Analysis. In: Lubrication, Maintenance and Tribotechnology Conference (LUBMAT 2023), 17-19 June 2023, University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

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Official URL: https://www.tribotechnic.com/en/news/242-lubmat202...


A common strategy to reduce engine parasitic power losses is to decrease pumping and viscous friction losses through use of a low viscosity engine oil. However, reducing lubricant viscosity can also decrease the contact load carrying capacity, thus exacerbating direct interaction of contacting surfaces. This leads to boundary frictional losses in contacts prone to mixed regime lubrication. As a result, detailed experimental and modelling studies of engine component frictional behaviour is required to ensure the engine level trade-offs. This paper presents a combined experimental and numerical investigation of frictional behaviour of three-piece piston oil control rings.

A bespoke tribometer replicates kinematics of the contact between a full oil control ring and the cylinder liner. The three-piece oil control ring is composed of two segments,
separated by a waveform type expander. The experimental results indicate the dominance of mixed regime of lubrication throughout the stroke. This is particularly the case when the experiments are conducted at 80 °C; a typical engine sump temperature, when compared with the case of 20 °C (a typical engine start-up temperature in the UK in the Spring).

A mixed hydrodynamic numerical model of the oil control ring-cylinder liner tribological interface is employed to apportion frictional contributions with their physical underlying
mechanisms. The combined experimental-predictive approach provides key information for engine designers when considering the efficiency trade-offs.

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