A model and the methodology for determining wear particle generation rate and filter efficiency in a diesel engine using ferrography

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Monitoring of the wear rate of a diesel engine will yield valuable information regarding the wear mechanism within a diesel engine and ultimately will improve the predictions of failing engines and/or their components to allow preventive maintenance which will prolong the life of the engine. A mathematical model was developed that describes the wear particle concentration as a function of time in a diesel engine. This model contains engine and lubrication system parameters that determine the concentration of wear particles in the engine sump. These variables are the oil system volume, oil flow rate, particle generation rate, filtering efficiency and the initial particle concentration. The model has been employed to study the wear particle concentrations in the sump and the mass of particles in the filter for the Cummins VT-903 diesel engine. In addition, the model was used to develop a testing methodology for determining wear particle generation rates and filter efficiencies from used oil analysis. This testing methodology uses ferrography together with computer programs to yield accurate statistical information on the data as curve fit to the model. The test set up incorporated a remote controlled sampling system that enabled the accurate and periodic taking of oil samples over an approximate five hour engine test. Results of this research indicate that equilibrium wear particle concentrations increase with an increase in engine speed and load. The wear particle generation rate and filter efficiency as determined by the test methodology were found to decrease with an increase in engine speed and load. After oil and filter changes, the wear particle generation rate and filter efficiency continually increased with cumulative engine time up to approximately 11 hours. The test methods used to obtain the results above were found to be repeatable to within ±15% and could conceivably be employed to determine wear parameters on other diesel engines as well as the effects of other engine variables such as lubricants, oil temperature, coolant temperature and engine components have on the wear parameters.

Publisher's Statement

Copyright © 1982 Society of Automotive Engineers, inc. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.4271/821195

Publication Title

SAE Technical Papers