A quantitative wear measurement method on production engine parts : Effect of DLC thin films on wear

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

15 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-470
Journal / PublicationWear
Online published10 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019


The automotive industry is facing worldwide pressure to reduce carbon emission to meet the Paris Accord target of 2 °C increase in global average temperature by the end of the century. One way to reduce carbon emission is to improve fuel economy of cars and trucks. Recent emergence of ultralow viscosity lubricants has shown significant fuel economy benefits. However, the resulting low oil film may cause increased surface contacts and could lead to increased wear. The ability to measure the initiation phase of wear before it accelerates towards failure is an important issue today. Quantitative measurement of wear in engine parts has always been a challenge. In today's fuel efficient engines, coatings increasingly being introduced into engine component manufacturing, wear metrology of small amount of wear spread over a large area of rough surfaces presents even a greater challenge. This paper describes the development of a quantitative measurement technique to measure mild wear over a relatively large area of rough production engine surfaces. One of the critical engine sliding components is the piston ring vs cross-hatched cylinder liner contact interface. The availability of a quantitative wear measurement technique would allow comparison of various materials, including coated rings, and liner surface treatments. In this study, production rings and liners were obtained from cooperative engine manufacturers under non-disclosure agreements. A reciprocating ring-liner test rig was used to conduct the wear tests, using a newly developed cyclic wear test procedure, sequence of speed and load cycles were used for simulating sliding motions. Mini-cycles (a constant speed with varying loads from 160 N to 240 N) at 120 °C, and at 6 Hz reciprocating frequency were used. An experimental 0 W-16 lubricant, which has gone through engine testing, was used in the wear tests. A dual white light interferometric microscope (Z resolution 1 Å) was used to measure the liner wear. An analytical balance with 1 µg resolution was used to measure the ring segment weight loss. After the wear measurement procedure was established, diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated rings were also used to assess the effect of the DLC on the wear, and the measurement technique. A digital 3D surface topography subtraction technique was successfully developed to measure quantitative wear of the liner. This technique can be used for other wearing engine parts.

Research Area(s)

  • Digital 3D subtraction, Piston ring-liner wear, Quantitative wear measurement