Clear polymer casing enables view inside axle

US car maker Chrysler is using 3D printing to open a unique window in to the world of axle testing and development.

Engineers have printed a see-through plastic casing exclusively for test purposes that allows a view of oil flow, a rare glimpse to see exactly how efficient the flow process is.

The approach is allowing improved correlation to virtual analysis of fluid flow.

“Efficient axles are critical to our powertrain strategy,” says Jeffrey Lux, vice president transmission powertrain. “They offer an economical way to improve total powertrain efficiency. Accordingly, we’ve introduced six new axle families.”

The conventional method of evaluating oil flow inside axles and pinion carriers involves cutting windows into the components and then observing the fluid’s movement using a dynamometer.

However, the oil turns milky with movement and blocks the view afforded by two-dimensional windows.

Justin Cunningham

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