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Russian Scientists Invented a “Smart” Filter for Cars

Scientists from South Ural State University have patented a know-how for drivers – an oil filter with a signaling device. This invention timely "alerts" drivers of the need to change the oil, which allows significantly prolonging the service life of automotive engines. A distinctive feature of this Russian invention compared to its foreign analogues is in the fact that it does not require changing the structure of the entire lubrication system for the filter to be installed. The filter can also be installed after the vehicle has already been used.

Every driver is interested in reliability of one's car. For this reason, many people buy expensive models, thinking that the higher price is a guarantee of high quality. However, even the so-called budget car models can be reliable.

"The fact that engines of modern cars can't work without oil is an axiom, so the resource of a car's operation is largely determined by the reliable functioning of the lubrication system. The cleaner the oil in the system is, the more reliable the engine's functioning. The issue is that abrasive particles get into the oil that we add to the system, and with time, the oil gets polluted. Oil filters perform the function of oil purification. But during operation, the filter gets clogged, which reduces the quality of its operation. While sitting behind the wheel, we don't know anything about the current status of the filter and, as a result, the motor oil. So we have installed a signaling device onto the oil filter, which notifies the driver if the bypass valve has opened, and this means that it is not functioning properly," says the development lead, Head of the Department of Cars and Car-Caring Service of the SUSU Institute of Engineering and Technology, Aleksandr Rulevskiy.

It is necessary to clarify, that the bypass valve opens when the filtering element clogs and there is slow supply of the oil to the lubrication system. Thanks to an open bypass valve, the engine does not experience "oil starvation", but in this case, the oil bypasses the filtering element and enters the lubrication system directly. Untreated oil negatively effects the operation of the engine. As research carried out by the authors of this patent show, by the moment it is time to change the oil and filter, the bypass valve is usually open, and the filter has not been operating properly for some time, which means it has not been cleaning the oil. The new filter with a signaling device will make it possible to significantly improve the operation of the engine (20-30% improvement, depending on the vehicle's operating conditions), as it will alert the driver that they need to replace both the filter and the oil.

"The idea of a device which alerts the driver to the condition of the filter is not new. What's more, it has already been implemented in a few models of foreign cars. But this required changes to the design of the whole lubrication system, and this is expensive, and can only be done during the production stage of new cars. We wanted to make a system which could be implemented into cars that are already in operation," notes one of the authors of the patent, Associate Professor of the Department of Cars and Car-Caring Service, Igor Levanov.

The benefits of the filter with a signaling device that has been invented by SUSU scientists include its simple structure and low cost. Although the authors believe that such filters will be installed by car maintenance services as an additional option, drivers will also be able to do this on their own. The important thing is that the vehicle itself does not undergo any changes, the only difference is the filter.

"Why would this be of interest for clients of car companies? When a person is buying a car at any price, they want to be sure in reliability of the engine. The advantage of our system is that it guarantees this reliability no matter the cost of the car," notes Aleksandr Rulevskiy.

Presently, the authors of this invention are cooperating with the Element Chelyabinsk Plant of Automotive Components, which produces oil and air filters for cars. Together with specialists of this company, bench tests are being performed on a prototype of the filter. In the near future, they plan on releasing a trial run of the filters with signaling devices to complete operational tests.

Provided by South Ural State University