World first imaging system to shed light on engine lubrication

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Image of oil flow inside an engine crankcase at high speed

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November 13, 2008 A neutron imaging system developed by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) that can see through lightweight metals may help improve engine design by providing researchers with unprecedented visualization of oil flow in an engine operating at high speed.

The system uses neutron radiography with high-speed imaging technology to create a precise picture of what's happening as oil flows through engine or drivetrain. JAEA and Nissan intend to use this tool to conduct test studies on engines and determine the causes of friction loss with a view to re-designing engines that optimze oil circulation and therefore reduce friction, fuel consumption and C02 emissions.

The joint research is being conducted at JAEA’s Tokai R&D Center.

PSI has a good explanation of neutron radiography and hoe it differs from X-ray radiography.

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