Measurement of the Viscosity of Thin Films of Lubricants on Solid Surfaces
This paper describes the development of a thin film rheometer able to measure the viscosity of lubricant films of the order of 200 μm thickness on flat, solid surfaces. The rheometer consists of a small cylinder mounted on a piezo bimorph which is divided electrically into two halves. When an AC voltage is applied to the one half of the piezo it causes the flat surface of the cylinder to oscillate in its own plane with an amplitude of a few microns. This motion produces an AC output from the other half of the piezo. The flat face of the cylinder is held parallel to an oily test surface and the latter is supported on a micrometer stage so that the gap between the two surfaces can be adjusted. As the gap is narrowed the oil film dampens the sinusoidal motion of the cylinder and the extent of this damping can be used to determine the viscosity of the oil film between the surfaces.