Well-designed surface texturing may be used to reduce ring/liner friction and increase efficiency in internal combustion engines. This study investigated the effects of textures of either grooves or dimples on ring/liner friction, in the hydrodynamic and mixed regimes. Existing MIT models were used to conduct this research. The ring-pack model is based on averaged flow-factor Reynolds analysis, and is used in conjunction with a deterministic model for flow factor calculation. Although this advanced model is applicable in a wide range of cases, the surface textures studied here are very different than a typical liner surface, and can be represented only approximately by the averaged analysis upon which the ring simulation is based. For this reason, this analysis of surface features has focused on a parametric study, the goal of which is to analyze trends relating ring/liner friction to surface parameters, and to make a general evaluation of the potential of surface texturing to reduce ring-pack losses. In the hydrodynamic and mixed regimes, surface texturing affects the fluid pressure in the lubricant between ring and liner, thus affecting the ability of the oil film to support the ring load. If the effect of the texturing is to impede the flow of lubricant, the result will be an increase in oil film thickness. This causes friction reduction in two ways: if asperity contact was present, it is reduced; and the increase in film thickness causes a decrease in shear rate, thus decreasing oil shear stress. It was found that surfaces with both dimpled and grooved textures could cause friction reduction through this mechanism, with deeper features and more transverse groove patterns causing the greatest reduction. Friction also decreased with increasing area ratio (the percentage of the surface that is occupied by the surface features) for both grooves and dimples, and was only slightly dependent on groove width and dimple diameter. Because the effect of the surface texturing is on hydrodynamic effects in the oil, it is strongly coupled with lubricant properties. If surface texturing and lubricant viscosity are optimized together side effects such as oil consumption and wear can be mitigated, while friction can be reduced even further than it is via surface texturing alone. This possibility was also briefly considered in this study.

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