Pistons for heavy duty diesel applications endure high thermal loads and therefore result in reduced durability. Pistons for such heavy duty applications are generally designed with an internal oil gallery — called the piston cooling gallery (PCG) — where the intent is to reduce the piston crown temperatures through forced convection cooling and thereby ensure the durability of the piston. One of the key factors influencing the efficiency of such a heat-transfer process is the volume fraction of oil inside the piston cooling gallery — defined as the filling ratio (FR) — during engine operation.
As a part of this study, a motoring engine measurement system was developed to measure the piston filling ratio of an inline-6 production heavy duty engine. In this system, multiple high precision pressure sensors were applied to the piston cooling gallery and a linkage was designed and fabricated to transfer the piston cooling gallery oil pressure signal out of the motoring engine. This pressure information was then correlated with the oil filling ratio through a series of calibration runs with known oil quantity in the piston cooling gallery. This proposed method can be used to measure the piston cooling gallery oil filling ratio for heavy duty engine pistons. A preliminary transient Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis was performed to identify the filling ratio and transient pressures at the corresponding transducer locations in the piston cooling gallery for one of the motoring test operating speeds (1200 RPM). A mesh dependency study was performed for the CFD analysis and the results were compared against those from the motoring test.