Experimental Study of Metallic Surfaces Exposed to Cavitation
Abstract: Cylinder liners in heavy-duty truck engines are subjected to intense vibrations and may sustain damage from the cavitation of bubbles in the coolant liquid, with some risks of leakage and engine breakdown. An ultrasonic oscillating probe was used to simulate the pitting rates and behavior of samples extracted from cylinder liners, which are made of grey cast iron, with differences in surface roughness, glycol and inhibitor content in coolant, coolant temperature and graphite flake class; bainitic microstructures were also tested. Measurements consisted of mass losses under set intervals during experiments lasting 2.5 or 4 hours. Affected surfaces were later evaluated with scanning electron microscopy and confocal microscopy. Results indicate higher cavitation damage with: lower concentrations of glycol and absence of corrosion/cavitation inhibitors in the coolant liquid, lower liquid temperatures between 76⁰C and 90⁰C, and presence of B-type graphite class in the microstructure. Results regarding surface roughness were inconclusive. A sequence of surface damage mechanisms has been proposed, with corresponding microscope observations, to explain the mass loss trends and the associated microstructural changes over time.
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