Fibre Optic Sensors for Long-Term Monitoring of Oil Film Pressure in Diesel Engine Main Bearing

Markku Kapulainen (Corresponding Author), Helena Ronkainen, Ari Hokkanen, Ingmar Stuns, Simo Varjus, Sami Nyyssönen, Raimo Turunen, Jari Halme

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    The oil film pressure is one of the key parameters in journal bearings influencing the performance of the bearings. A fibre optic sensor was developed for online determination of actual oil film pressure under load without disturbing the actual tribological contact. Four optical sensors were integrated in a hydrodynamic journal bearing of a Wärtsilä Vasa 4R32 LN E medium-speed diesel engine with four cylinders, maximum power of 1,640 kW and rotating speed on 750 rpm. Online engine tests were carried out with different loads to study the sensor operation in real operating conditions. The engine tests were repeated six times over 4 years of operation reaching up to thousand hours of the engine use. The results showed differences in bearing pressure depending on the position of the sensor and on the operating cycle of the cylinders. The pressure peaks of all four cylinder work cycles could be identified in the measured pressure curves, and the pressure variations within the pressure curves fit well to the diesel engine's work cycle and mass forces. The sensors had good repeatability over the whole test period.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-54
    JournalTribology Letters
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • diesel engines
    • tribology
    • journal bearing
    • fibre optic sensors
    • oil film pressure


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