Li, Guoxing (2016) Investigation into the dynamic responses and tribological characteristics of cylinder liners in a IC engine with alternative fuels. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Promoted by the realisation of dwindling fossil fuel supplies and their adverse environmental impacts, there more and more types of alternative fuels to fossil diesel have been used and investigated in compression ignition engines. However, the majority of researches on alternative fuels mainly focus on their power performance, efficiency and emission performance, without fully investigating the potential effects on the vibro-acoustic emissions and tribological characteristics of engines caused by their significant differences in physical and chemical properties. Consequently, the impacts of long-term use of alternative fuels on structural failure, lubrication degradation, friction aggravation, overall service life spans and associated maintenance activities of internal combustion (IC) engines have not yet been fully understood.
To reduce this gap this thesis focuses on the investigation into the vibration responses of cylinder liners in a diesel engine to accurately characterises the tribological behaviour between the piston rings and cylinders which is one of the most decisive sub-processes that determine engine performance and yet is correlated with the combustion of different fuels. In particular, the investigation was carried out by coupling the hydrodynamic lubrication model with structural vibration effects through a series of extensive numerical simulations and systematic experimental evaluations in order to establish a vibration based technique to monitoring tribological behaviour and thereby accurately assess the influence.
Based on the dynamic coupling mechanisms between the combustion characteristics of alternative fuels and the tribological behaviours of cylinder liners, the most significant influences from the fuel burning on tribological behaviour of cylinder liners concerned in this study is a direct and physical approach such as the effect of liner vibrations on cylinder friction process, even though an indirect and chemical but very slow approach such as the deterioration of oil properties by combustion products can happen.
To characterise the direct influence a finite element dynamic model was developed and validated for predicting the dynamic responses of cylinder liners to respective excitation sources including the highly nonlinear combustion pressure shocks and subsequent piston slap impacts. The realistic consideration of both the characteristics of structural modes up to 15kHz and nonlinearities of elastic assembly constraints allows obtaining accurate prediction that the combustion shocks cause vibrations in a frequency range around 10kHz with an amplitude order of 0.01μm, whereas the piston slaps in frequency range from 1k to 5kHz with an amplitude order 0.2μm, which gives a clear and quantitative indication of the nonlinear phenomena of liner vibration due to combusting alternative fuels and varying lubrication conditions. In addition, a decomposition analysis of piston side-thrust forces provides more insight of the localized response characteristics corresponding to coupling interactions of combustion force with inertia force of piston assembly.
To further investigate the potential influences of structural deformations to tribological behaviours of cylinder assemblies, a new dynamic deformation based lubrication model was developed based on an employment of improved shearing factors in which the effect of inevitable liner vibrations is included to obtain a more realistic lubricating film formation, distribution and tribological behaviours. The simulation studies show that this advancement in modelling oil films predicts that the biodiesel with more intense vibration emissions is able to reduce the friction loss between pistons and liners, whereas the methanol-diesel blend with weakened liner dynamic response may exacerbate the friction loss of IC engines. This finding confirms further that the vibration responses allow a straightforward and in-depth indication of the effect generated by using different fuels.
In addition, a further experimental investigation was carried out based on a motoring engine test, in which high frequency sinusoidal vibrations at 25 kHz, 30 kHz and 40 kHz are added to the external surface of the linear. The observable changes in motoring torque verify that proper external vibrations can affect the tribological behaviours between the pistons and liners, including both asperity friction and viscous friction, and resulting in the friction reduction of IC engines. Particularly the 40 kHz vibration at the maximal driving power of the test device can achieve a reduction of 1.79% in the motoring torque. This has demonstrated more on the effectiveness of this vibration based diagnostic method in assessing the influences of alternative fuels upon tribological behaviours of piston ring and cylinder liners.
Finally, further researches on the subjects is also proposed in order to complete the vibration based diagnostics in achieving more accurate assessment of engine lubrication conditions and effective friction reduction.

FINAL THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version

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