Undoubtably car engines are major contributors to carbon emission, but they are also fundamental for modern life. Engine lubrication systems still have a simple mechanical pump which has been sized to ensure an adequate supply of oil in the worst operating condition, and, as a whole, it is a very inefficient system.
As part of a project in collaboration with Powertrain Technology, that seeks to design an intelligent lubrication system and to analyse its effects on engine friction and parasitic losses, Sensor Technology has developed a TorqSense transducer which will help to reduce engine emission. TorqSense effectively senses and measures the radio frequency, RF, waves generated by two Surface Acoustic Wave devices or SAW’s fixed onto a rotating shaft and converts them to a torque measurement using two tiny SAWs made of ceramic piezoelectric material with frequency resonating combs laid down on their surface. The SAW’s are fixed onto the drive shaft at 90degrees to one another. As the torque increases the combs expand or contract proportionally to the torque being applied. In effect the combs act similarly to strain gauges but instead measure changes in resonant frequency. The adjacent RF pickup emits radio waves towards the SAW’s as well as collecting the reflected resonant changes and its change in frequency of the reflected waves that identifies the applied torque.