Researchers at the University of Sheffield have discovered new ways of monitoring the conditions of combustion engines using ultrasound.
Professor of Lubrication Engineering at the university, Rob Dwyer-Joyce has overseen the use of the method, typically used in healthcare to examine the inside of the human body but could now be utilized for the inside of machinery, particularly cars.
Ultrasound can be used to monitor the movements of the pistons, which move the car forward, inside an engine, allowing you to make sure they are moving up and down correctly, how much oil they will need and determine whether or not a servicing is need.
The research aims “to improve energy consumption in cars”, explains Professor Rob Dwyer-Joyce.
“Our method will allow engine manufacturers to adjust lubrication levels with confidence and ensure they are using the optimum level for any particular engine, rather than over-lubricating, to ensure engine safety,” he says. “The energy used by the piston rings alone amounts to around 4p in every liter of fuel – there is a lot at stake in getting the lubrication right.”
The research, which is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is still on-going and could still yield positive results in energy consumption and engine maintenance.