The ultrasonic technique is very effective in measuring lubricant film thickness in a noninvasive manner. To estimate the film thickness with reflection signals, two main ultrasonic models are often applied in cases of different film thicknesses; they are the spring model for thin films and the resonant model for thick films. However, when measuring oil film thicknesses distributed in a wide range, there is an inherent blind zone between these two models. This problem is especially prominent in online monitoring because the abrupt variation of film thickness is highly correlated with the occurrence of abnormal conditions. To address this issue, we further proposed a method using the phase spectrum of reflection coefficient which can cover a wide range of film thicknesses. The slight variation of reflection signal in the blind zone can then be identified and bridged the measurement gap between those two traditional models. A calibration rig was used to verify the theoretical analysis and the results indicated that the developed model is capable of providing reliable ultrasonic measurement of lubricant film thicknesses in a wide range.

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