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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S46956/01
Title: An Ultrasonic Sensor to Monitor Lubricant Films and the Onset of Film Failure
Principal Investigator: Drinkwater, Professor B
Other Investigators:
Dwyer-Joyce, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
First Hydro Company Ltd Michelin Shell
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 10 December 2003 Ends: 09 December 2006 Value (£): 167,421
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Eng. Dynamics & Tribology Materials testing & eng.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy Manufacturing
Related Grants:
GR/S46963/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The operation of rotating machines depends on the condition of a lubricant film that is often sub-micron in thickness. Collapse of this film leads to bearing failure that can cause costly unplanned plant shut-down. This proposal concerns the development of a novel ultrasonic technique to measure these thin films and determine the onset of their failure. New modelling techniques will be developed to allow film thickness information to be extracted from ultrasonic reflection coefficient data. These will be based on finite element predictions of the interaction of high frequency ultrasound with very thin (1 nm - 1 nm) lubricant layers and mixed fluid-solid lubrication.An experimental test platform will be developed that will allow the measurement of lubricant films in thrust pad and rolling element bearings. This will allow the measurement of lubricant films in hydrodynamic, elastohydrodynamic and boundary regimes. This project will also undertake site trials, initially on a full-scale test bearing and, if this trial is successful, on a bearing in the Dinorwig power station. The overall project deliverable will be a new and robust measurement technique capable of measuring the condition of lubricant films in real bearings.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk