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Research shines light on crankcase soot and oil additives

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Research at a Canadian university indicated that calcium-based motor oil dispersant could actually increase diesel engine wear.

The researchers were studying motor oil and additive components’ chemical interactions, according to Phys.org. The work was led by Pranesh Aswath with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The work took place at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron at the University of Saskatchewan. A synchotron, according to the Canadian Light Source site, “produces light by using radio frequency waves and powerful electro-magnets to accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light. Energy is added to the electrons as they accelerate so that, when the magnets alter their course, they naturally emit a very brilliant, highly focused light.”

Scientists can study the different light spectra to learn about the properties of oil additive components.

Aswath’s study focused on crankcase soot that forms in diesel engines. He found that the calcium dispersants that are part of oil additive packages could interact with soot in a way that creates more abrasive calcium phosphate.

That more abrasive soot could actually reduce the protection of moving parts in the crankcase, Phys.org wrote.

Aswath said that there could be alternative additive components that don’t create abrasive soot and still perform as needed.

Calcium-based detergent got attention as one potential cause of low-speed pre-ignition events in gasoline engines as additive chemistry is becoming even more important in motor oils.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/dave_7

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