The Use of Radioactive Tracer Technology to Evaluate Engine Wear Under the Influences of Advanced Combustion System Operation and Lubricant Performance
Radioactive tracer technology is an important tool for measuring component wear on a real-time basis and is especially useful in measuring engine wear as it is affected by combustion system operation and lubricant performance. Combustion system operation including the use of early and/or late fuel injection and EGR for emissions control can have a profound effect on aftertreatment contamination and engine reliability due to wear. Liner wear caused by localized fuel impingement can lead to excessive oil consumption and fuel dilution can cause excessive wear of rings and bearings. To facilitate typical wear measurement, the engine's compression rings and connecting rod bearings are initially exposed to thermal neutrons in a nuclear reactor to produce artificial radioisotopes that are separately characteristic of the ring and bearing wear surfaces.