The broader/commercial impact of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project is to advance development of an innovation in lubricant viscosity sensing to enable continuous oil condition monitoring. There are 285 million vehicles, aircrafts and vessels in the US, and more than one-half of the lubricant changes based on mileage and time are estimated to be premature and unnecessary. For the moving vehicles in the US alone, this technology could save over $1.3 billion in oil cost and prevent the requirement to dispose over 70 million gallons of used oil every year, with additional savings from reduced labor and vehicle downtime. The proposed technology will benefit consumers and industrial users with prolonged vehicle/machine life and reduced maintenance cost. Furthermore, it will reduce oil waste and the substantial cost of oil recycling, enabling greater sustainability.
This SBIR project will advance a proposed ultrasound technology for in-situ oil viscosity monitoring inside engines using ultrasound wave behavior. The proposed project operates without delicate or motion-based sensing mechanisms, enabling use in a harsh environment with strong vibrations and noise. This unique method gives highly reliable measurement, making this technology advantageous for applications in-situ. This project will design sensing probes suitable for installation and use in engines; calibrate them under simulated conditions; and test them for continuous measurement of oil viscosity in a running engine in-situ. Data will be collected to refine new algorithms in anticipation of an advanced prototype.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.