Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultrasound can now monitor the health of your car engine

Date:
December 10, 2012
Source:
University of Sheffield
Summary:
A system that uses ultrasound technology to look inside car engines could lead to more efficient engines -- and huge fuel savings for motorists.

A system that uses ultrasound technology to look inside car engines could lead to more efficient engines -- and huge fuel savings for motorists.

Ultrasound scans have long been a fundamental tool in healthcare for looking inside the human body, but they have never before been put to use in testing the health of a modern combustion engine.

In the University of Sheffield's Department of Mechanical Engineering, Rob Dwyer-Joyce, Professor of Lubrication Engineering, has devised a method of using ultrasound to measure how efficiently an engine's pistons are moving up and down inside their cylinders.

"There is a real urgency, now, to improve energy consumption in cars," says Professor Dwyer-Joyce. "Our method will allow engine manufacturers to adjust lubrication levels with confidence and ensure they are using the optimum level for any particular engine, rather than over-lubricating to ensure engine safety. The energy used by the piston rings alone amounts to around 4p in every litre of fuel -- there is a lot at stake in getting the lubrication right."

The seal between piston rings and cylinder is the most important seal in the entire engine and understanding how the lubricant works inside this sealed chamber is crucial for improving the fuel efficiency of the engine.

The movement of the pistons is what drives the car forward. Car manufacturers have to calculate how much oil will allow the piston to move efficiently. Too much oil is wasteful and ends up getting burnt in the engine -- increasing emissions, while too little will result in wear from the two moving parts rubbing against each other.

Because cylinders are enclosed spaces, it is not easy to test what is going on inside. Computer models don't effectively allow for changes as an engine speeds up and gets hotter, and more invasive methods -- cutting open the cylinder -- interfere too much with the mechanism to get an accurate test result.

The Sheffield team are measuring the lubricant film by transmitting ultrasonic pulses through the cylinder wall from sensors attached to the outside. The reflections from these pulses can then be recorded and measured.

The research is part of a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. It has included collaboration with Loughborough University, which is overall leader on the project, and Cranfield University, and a host of automotive industry manufacturers and suppliers. The research team at Loughborough is investigating the piston-cylinder dynamics and tribological modelling, the development of predictive tools, advanced cylinder liners and surface laser texturing, and the direct measurement of friction, whilst the team at Cranfield have been studying the micro-scale interaction between the piston rings and the cylinder.

The team is ready to commercialise this technology and is looking for industrial partners who might be interested in pursuing the approach.

"Our system could provide major efficiency savings in car engines, but it could also be used on the larger diesel engines in deep water marine vessels, some of which use up to 1 tonne of oil each day," adds Professor Dwyer Joyce.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Sheffield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. S. Mills, E. Y. Avan, R. S. Dwyer-Joyce. Piezoelectric sensors to monitor lubricant film thickness at piston-cylinder contacts in a fired engine. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology, 2012; DOI: 10.1177/1350650112464833

Cite This Page:

University of Sheffield. "Ultrasound can now monitor the health of your car engine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210112347.htm>.
University of Sheffield. (2012, December 10). Ultrasound can now monitor the health of your car engine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210112347.htm
University of Sheffield. "Ultrasound can now monitor the health of your car engine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210112347.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins