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Nissan Employs Nuclear Physics to Study Engine Lubrication

November 11th, 2008
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Nissan Motor Co., Ltd and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) today announced that they have jointly developed a neutron imaging system that has provided the world’s first precise visualisation of oil flow in an engine operating at high speed.

Combining neutron radiography to visualise through lightweight metals with high-speed imaging technology*1 to capture dynamic events, the imaging system gives researchers an unprecedented chance to study the behaviour of lubricating oil*2 as it circulates through an automobile engine or drivetrain.

Using its expertise in innovative atomic research, JAEA together with Nissan will conduct visualisation test studies on engines to determine the causes of friction loss from the recorded behaviour of internal lubricating oil flow. The goal of the study is to redesign engines for optimal oil circulation with reduced friction in order to reduce fuel consumption and C02 emissions in vehicles. The joint research is being conducted at JAEA’s Tokai R&D Center*3.

Under the Nissan Green Program 2010, Nissan will continue its collaborative research to develop new technologies, products and services that can lead to real-world reductions of C02 emissions.

*1: The process of recording rapidly changing phenomena with a high-speed video camera and using slow-motion playback or analysis of individual image frames to measure desired quantities such as speed and density

*2: Includes circulation and delivery of oil to each engine component, oil splash from the crankshaft, and oil delivery to the final drive gear

*3: JRR-3 (Japan Research Reactor No.3) at JAEA’s Tokai R&D Center, is one of the world's foremost research facilities for neutron beam experiments and radiation research.

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