Monitoring of the piston ring-pack and cylinder liner interface in diesel engines through acoustic emission measurements
Douglas, Ryan McAllister
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Investigation of novel condition monitoring systems for diesel engines has received much recent attention due to the increasing demands placed upon engine components and the limitations of conventional techniques. This thesis documents experimental research conducted to assess the monitoring capabilities of Acoustic Emission (AE) analysis. In particular it focuses on the possibility of monitoring the piston ring-pack and cylinder liner interface, a critical engine sub-system for which there are currently few practical monitoring options. A series of experiments were performed on large, two-stroke and small, four-stroke diesel engines. Tests under normal operating conditions developed a detailed understanding of typical AE generation in terms of both the source mechanisms and the characteristics of the resulting activity. This was supplemented by specific tests to investigate possible AE generation at the ring-pack/liner interface. For instance, for the small engines measures were taken to remove known AE sources in order to accentuate any activity originating at the interface whilst for the large engines the interfacial conditions were purposely deteriorated through the removal of the lubricating oil supply to one cylinder. Interpretation of the results was based mainly upon comparisons with published work encompassing both the expected ring-pack behaviour and AE generation from tribological processes. This provided a strong indication that the source of the ring-pack/liner AE activity was the boundary frictional losses. The ability to monitor this process may be of significant benefit to engine operators as it enhances the diagnostic information currently available and may be incorporated into predictive maintenance strategies. A further diagnostic technique considered was the possibility of using AE parameters combined with information of crankshaft speed fluctuations to evaluate engine balance and identify underperforming cylinders.