Scaling three main lubricating interfaces (piston/cylinder interface, cylinder block/valve plate interface, and slipper/swash plate interface) of swash plate type axial piston machine while remaining the pump performance is a rewarding but challenging task. Instead of designing a new unit for the desired displacement, scaling a well-designed existing unit to the desired size requires much less computational and experimental cost. However, scaling all the components linearly is far from enough to remain the original sized unit’s performance due to the unscalable fluid properties and material properties. This paper proposes a novel scaling method for the piston/cylinder interface which is able to achieve the baseline performance at some of the operating conditions, and closing the gap between the scaled unit performance and the baseline performance at the rest of the operating conditions.

The authors use a special in-house developed simulation tool to study the design parameters of the piston/cylinder interface impacts on the performance in terms of leakage flow rate, and the energy dissipation. This in-house developed tool is able to model the lubricating fluid film behavior considering the complex fluid and structure interaction, the macro and micro motion of the piston, the three-dimensional fluid heat-transfer, the three-dimensional solid part heat-transfer, and the solid part deformation due to both the pressure and the thermal load.

This paper includes a brief introduction of the simulation tool, the results of the design parameters investigation, the proposed scaling method, and the simulation results comparison between the baseline unit and the scaled unit using the proposed method.

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