Friction is a determining factor in the efficiency and performance of internal combustion engines. Losses in the form of friction work typically account for 10–20% of an engine’s output. Improvements in the friction characteristics of the power cylinder assembly are essential for reducing total engine friction and improving the mechanical efficiency of internal combustion engines. This paper describes the development and implementation of a new concept of the ‘floating liner’ engine at Colorado State University that allows 0.5 crank angle degree resolved measurement of the forces on the cylinder along 3 axes — in the axial direction, the thrust direction, and along the wrist pin. Three different lubricants with differing properties were tested to observe the friction characteristics of each. Experimental results showed that the floating liner engine was able to resolve changes in friction characteristics coinciding with changes in lubricant viscosity and temperature. Axial force increases at TDC and BDC were observed as lubricant viscosity was decreased and larger amounts of mixed and boundary lubrication began to occur. For each test the axial friction force data was used to calculate total cycle friction work. The thrust and off-axis (wrist pin direction) forces are discussed under the same circumstances.

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