Prof. Rob Dwyer-Joyce | Dr. Robin Mills

Prof. Rob Dwyer-Joyce 
Dr. Robin Mills

With six industrial and two academic partners,Encyclopaedic is an ambitious project, which aims to improve engine efficiency; making use of the expertise of some of the country’s top researchers and utilising equipment developed exclusively at Sheffield University.

By using piezoelectric ultrasonic sensors on specially designed test apparatus, it aims to enhance fuel efficiency, reduce engine friction, noise and vibration and generate smoother, sleeker running.

It will also create a new range of products and predictive tools, working in conjunction with the Universities of Loughborough and Cranfield as well as Aston Martin Lagonda, Prodrive, BP Castrol, Capricorn, ES-Technology and Ricardo Consulting Engineers.

As a car engine runs, the lubrication between the piston rings and cylinder becomes less efficient, leading to wear on the cylinder surface. As piston cylinder interactions account for 45% of all engine losses, understanding this process is crucial for the manufacture of efficient engines. In groundbreaking research, piezoelectric sensors are placed outside the cylinder liner. These measure the oil film thickness at critical positions between the compression ring and its lining allowing us to understand how it becomes worn. By investigating the underlying physics of these very thin films, we can design them with optimal coatings, structure and texture for engine efficiency.

With the automotive industry’s output being equivalent to a global turnover of 2.6 trillion dollars, the Leonardo Centre is providing expertise to help keep competitors at the cutting edge.