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Meso-Scale Oil Condition Sensor

[+] Author Affiliations
Bradley D. McClelland, Ronald A. L. Rorrer

University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO

Paper No. IMECE2011-65329, pp. 351-358; 8 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Transportation Systems; Safety Engineering, Risk Analysis and Reliability Methods; Applied Stochastic Optimization, Uncertainty and Probability
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5495-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


With advances in vehicle electronics and instrumentation, there has become an increasing demand for sensors to monitor the various systems of vehicles. One fruitful area for exploration is oil condition monitoring. There are a variety of devices that have been researched and some commercial sensors based upon indirect measures of oil condition based upon temperature history and mileage. In this work, a meso-scale oscillatory device has been built to monitor the condition of oil while in use. Specifically, the device measures the viscosity, dielectric constant, and temperature of the oil. These measurements were chosen based on their importance to the function of oil. This is especially true of viscosity, which is known to be a major indicator of the overall condition of the lubricant. Tests showing the operation of the device, including measurements of oil samples from actual engines, are shown. Other tests include the detection of fuel contamination and metal wear particle presence. The device presented here could be easily incorporated into the onboard electronics of a modern vehicle in order to monitor the condition of the oil and determine when oil replacement is necessary.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Sensors



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