Johnson, B., Hargrave, G., Reid, B., Page, V. et al., "Optical Analysis and Measurement of Crankcase Lubricant Oil Atomisation," SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-0882, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-0882.
Crankcase emissions are a complex mixture of combustion products and, specifically Particulate Matter (PM) from lubricant oil. Crankcase emissions contribute substantially to the particle mass and particle number (PN) emitted from an internal combustion engine. Environmental legislation demands that the combustion and crankcase emissions are either combined to give a total measurement or the crankcase gases are re-circulated back into the engine, both strategies require particle filtration. There is a lack of understanding regarding the physical processes that generate crankcase emissions of lubricant oil, specifically how the bulk lubricant oil is atomised into droplets.In this paper the crankcase of a motored compression ignition engine, has been optically accessed to visualise the lubricant oil distribution. The oil distribution was analysed in detail using high speed laser diagnostics, at engine speeds up to 2000 rpm and oil temperatures of 90°C.High resolution calibrated images show the passive behavior of lubricant oil once it has been supplied to critical engine components. The major mechanisms of oil atomisation have been identified and quantified from high speed images, the generation of oil droplets dp = 10 μm - 3 mm has been captured. The most significant generation mechanism was atomisation of oil films present on the surface of rotating components. The isolated contribution of the crank and camshafts to the atomised oil droplets present in the top of the engine has been recorded. Further breakup, evaporation and condensation from the surface of the atomised oil droplets will generate coarse and fine PM. Results from imaging data show good correlation with sub-micron PN sampling measurements captured in a previous study ; namely an increase in particle number concentration with increasing engine speed.