Category: MTM

Extraction and Tribological Investigation of Top Piston Ring Zone Oil from a Gasoline Engine

With tightening emission regulations, increased expected fuel economy, and longer drain intervals impacting on lubricant formulation, greater understanding of how oil degrades in an automotive engine is becoming ever more important. Equally significant is the effect that this degraded lubricant has on the tribological operation of the engine, particularly its overall internal friction and component wear.
In a previous paper, four tests to degrade oil in a single cylinder engine were reported [1]. These tests were set up such that the lubricating oil was degraded in the ring pack before returning to the sump, where it was sampled and chemical and rheological analysis undertaken. This paper reports the extension of this work using the same Hydra engine and describes how oil has additionally been extracted from the rear of the top piston ring during engine operation. This extracted oil has then been subjected to similar analysis as the sump oil samples in the previous tests, along with additional analysis to look at the tribological properties of the oil using tribometers.
The results clearly show significant differences in the rheological, tribological, and chemical properties of the fresh oil and used sump oil samples when compared with the top ring zone (TRZ) oil samples, particularly the effect of load on the levels of volatiles present in the TRZ samples and their effect on traction and friction coefficient values during tribological testing.