16FT1: Simulation, Rheology and Efficiency of Polymer Enhanced Fluids

Project Leaders: Paul Michael, Research Chemist & Ashlie Martini, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Institutions: Milwaukee School of Engineering & University of California, Merced

This project will bridge the gap between the fundamental behavior of polymer enhanced fluids and the performance of complex fluid power systems.

Polymer-basestock solutions were investigated using molecular dynamics simulations, benchtop rheological tests, and hydraulic dynamometer evaluations. Molecular simulations examined the nanoscale effects of polymer structure on solution viscosity and compressibility. Dynamometer testing assessed the effects of fluid properties on flow and torque losses in an open- loop hydraulic system. Rheological testing provided a validation of the simulations and a bridge between the simulations and dynamometer measurements. Polymer – containing hydraulic fluids were found to reduce pump flow losses and increase low-speed motor torque losses. Flow and torque losses were unaffected by shear-induced permanent viscosity change. Characterizing polymer solutions at multiple length scales and using several complementary techniques makes possible a better understanding of the relationship between molecular structure and the behavior of fluids in hydraulic machines.

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