PROJECT DETAILS: Instrumenting Auto-Engine to measure Viscosity in-situ.


Engines have lots of moving parts, bearings, gears, and pistons. All of these are lubricated to reduce friction. Nevertheless around 20% of the energy from the fuel is lost in the friction of these parts. Modifying the lubricant viscosity, and importantly knowing how it varies through the life on an engine can lead to significant fuel savings and lower emissions.

The aim of this project is to develop and install a new kind of sensor based on reflected ultrasound to measure oil viscosity in a working car engine.

The objectives are:


  • Understand how ultrasonic piezo-sensors work and try out on sample oil samples on the lab bench.

  • Strip down machine parts on an engine and install sensors.

  • Commission the sensors and run them at a range of engine conditions.

  • Investigate the suitability of a very simple ultrasonic pulsing card and Bluetooth system.

  • Install and monitor sensors on a lubricant degradation rig (existing at Sheffield)

  • Write LabView code to drive the measurement system.

  • Write Matlab code to analyse the results and model behaviour.


Supervisors: Prof Rob Dwyer-Joyce, Dr Robin Mills, Olivia Manfredi (Cohort 1) 

Project Updates:

Team Report Jan 2017

Group Presentation Jan 2017