In the normal high speed engine operation at small piston-to-bore radial clearance, elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) of skirts and non-Newtonian lubricant behavior prevent adhesive wear, but in the initial engine start up, the large clearance, low speed and absence of EHL, cause start up wear. This study models 2-D upper convected Maxwell viscoelastic EHL of piston skirts at small radial clearance in a few initial low speed engine start up cycles by solving the Reynolds equation and using the inverse solution technique. The numerical analysis incorporate characteristic lubricant relaxation times and a perturbation method to predict and compare hydrodynamic and EHL pressures and film profiles. The effects of viscoelasticity on the lubricant characteristics, transverse eccentricities of piston, film thickness, and pressure fields in the hydrodynamic and EHL regimes are investigated. This study suggests that EHL film is formed at very small piston-to-bore radial clearance at low start up speed under assumed conditions to prevent start up wear as viscoelasticity produces a beneficial effect on piston skirts lubrication in the initial engine start up.

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