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New Nanotech Device Tells You When You Should Change Your Oil

Oil Change

Oil is essential to keep your engine running smoothly for a long time, and I for one never know when the oil in my car needs to be changed. Usually, I just remember or write down the mileage when the oil was changed, but this info is mostly lost or forgotten. This should change shortly as scientists have created a new nanotech device that will tell you when you must change your oil.

This device is a disc-shaped real-time sensor that will measure you engine oil quality. It works with the use of thin metal oxide films. It is small to say at least, because it is about 500 times thinner than a human hair! That is 2.5 millimeters in diameter and is covered by a thin, 300-nanometer metal oxide film.

Professor Kamal Alameh says: “Motor engine oil degrades through oxidation which leads to acidic by-products. Those by-products lead to corrosion and are a major source of engine failure.” The oxide film has an electrical charge, and these acidic by-products change the electric charge on the film. When the charge reaches a certain threshold, the sensor will indicate that the oil quality has become very low and your oil needs to be changed.

As oil loses its quality, and acidity rises, these effects can lead to corrosion and decline of engines performance.  It is also important that oil has adequate viscosity to act as engine lubricant.

The Professor goes on to say that these sensors could be mass produced at a very low cost because the film is so thin and they can make thousands of sensors at the same time through a process called photolithography.

This research was done at the Edith Cowan University, Australia in the Electron Science Research Institute.

About the author

Dean Smith