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Formation and breakdown of oil residue tribofilms protecting the valves of diesel engines
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Applied Materials Sciences.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Applied Materials Sciences.
2015 (English)In: Wear, ISSN 0043-1648, E-ISSN 1873-2577, Vol. 330, 193-198 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The contacting surfaces of modern valve systems experience a complex contact situation with repeated micro sliding at high temperatures and pressures. The wear rate of the surfaces has to be extremely low to fulfill the high demands on engine efficiency during its entire life-time-wear will cause valve recession and thus make the combustion less efficient. In addition to this, legislation requires reduced particulates in the emissions, which leads to aggravating conditions for the valves. Studies of field samples from well-functioning engines have shown that a protective tribofilm is formed on the contacting surfaces of the valve. This tribofilm is primarily built up from combustion residues of the engine oil and fuel, making its composition sensitive to their additives. Since the low wear rate is dependent on the formation of a tribofilm based on oil residues, while future legislation will demand even cleaner emissions, a deepened understanding about the formation and dynamics of these tribofilms is needed. How quickly are they formed, how quickly do they wear, do they require constant supply of "building material", can they efficiently protect the surfaces also when substantially less building material is available? In the present study, the formation and breakdown mechanisms of this type of protective tribofilms have been investigated in a specifically designed valve rig. This rig uses real engine components and allows controlled addition of oil mist (in the present case from a fully formulated engine oil) into a hot air stream, passing the operating valve. Four phases were identified in the tribofilm dynamics. In the first-formation-phase, oil residue particles become trapped on the sealing surfaces of the valve, and then smeared out between the closing surfaces to form a covering tribofilm. In the second-equilibrium-phase, the tribofilm coverage is stable, meaning that the addition of new particles is balanced by wear of the film. Two types of films form, one thick carbon-based film and one thinner additive-based film. If the supply of oil is cut off, the third-breakdown-phase commences. Here the carbon-based film is quickly removed while the additive-based film keeps protecting the valve surface for numerous closing cycles. When also this film become worn through, the final phase-wear of exposed valve material -commences, involving severe wear and oxidization. Interestingly, it was found that the breakdown was slower if the equilibrium phase was longer, indicating that the additive-based tribofilm becomes more durable by being more worked.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 330, 193-198 p.
Keyword [en]
Internal combustion engines, Valve, Wear protection, Lubricant additives, Tribofilm, Test rig
National Category
Materials Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-260161DOI: 10.1016/j.wear.2015.01.066ISI: 000357438000022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-260161DiVA: diva2:846581
Available from: 2015-08-17 Created: 2015-08-17 Last updated: 2015-08-17Bibliographically approved

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Elo, RobinJacobson, Staffan
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