Reducing Energy Losses from Automotive Engine Lubricants by Thermal Isolation of the Engine Mass
The thermal efficiency of an internal combustion engine at steady state temperatures is typically in the region of 25-35%. In a cold start situation, this reduces to be between 10% and 20% . A significant contributor to the reduced efficiency is poor performance by the engine lubricant. Sub optimal viscosity resulting from cold temperatures leads to poor lubrication and a subsequent increase in friction and fuel consumption. Typically, the engine lubricant takes approximately twenty minutes  to reach steady state temperatures. Therefore, if the lubricant can reach its steady state operating temperature sooner, the engine's thermal efficiency will be improved. It is hypothesised that, by decoupling the lubricant from the thermal mass of the surrounding engine architecture, it is possible to reduce the thermal energy loss from the lubricant to the surrounding metal structure in the initial stages of warm-up.