1997-05-01

Engine Oil Viscosity Sensors Using Disks of PZT Ceramic as Electromechanical Vibrators 971702

Experimental forms of two different types of engine oil viscosity sensors have been tested that use uniformly poled disks of piezoelectric PZT ceramic. In both cases, the disks were used to form electromechanical resonators functioning as the frequency-controlling element in a transistor oscillator circuit. The simpler type of sensor used only one disk, vibrating in a radial-longitudinal mode of vibration. In this mode, a disk 2.54 cm in diameter and 0.127 cm thick had a resonant frequency of approximately 90 kHz. The second type of sensor used two such disks bonded together by a conducting epoxy, with poling directions oriented in opposite directions. This composite resonator vibrated in a radially-symmetrical, flexural mode of vibration, with the lowest resonant frequency at approximately 20 kHz. The presence of tangential components of motion on the major faces of both resonators made them sensitive to the viscosity of fluids in which they were immersed. Laboratory measurements indicated that both types of resonators, when immersed in engine oil samples, were capable of being used as viscosity sensors. Viscosity data for new and used engine oils are discussed.

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