A high-speed camera has been used to produce unique time-resolved images of high quality to describe the dynamics of the lubricant flow and cavitation characteristics in a sliding optical liner over a fixed single piston-ring lubricant assembly for three lubricants with different viscosities to establish their impact on cavitation formation and development. The images were obtained at two cranking speeds (or liner sliding velocity) of 300 rpm (0–0.36 m/s) and 600 rpm (0–0.72 m/s), at a lubricant temperature of 70 °C and a supply lubricant rate of 0.05 L/min. A special MATLAB programme has been developed to analyse the cavitation characteristics quantitatively. The dynamic process of cavities initiation was demonstrated by time-resolved images from fern cavity formation to fissure cavities and then their development to the sheet and strings cavities at a liner sliding velocity of around 0.17 m/s. The results for both up- and down-stroke motions showed that the cavities reach their fully developed state downstream of the contact point when the liner velocity reaches its highest velocity and that they start to collapse around TDC and BDC when the liner comes to rest. Within the measured range, viscosity had a great influence on length of cavities so that a decrease in viscosity (from Lubricant A to C) caused a reduction in length of cavities of up to 35% for Lubricant C. On the other hand, an increase in speed, from 300 rpm to 600 rpm, have increased the number of string cavities and also increased the length of cavities due to thicker oil film thickness with the higher speed. Overall, the agreement between the processed data by MATLAB and visualisation measurements were good, but further thresholds refinement is required to improve the accuracy.
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