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Imperial Oil researcher receives award for test to measure diesel engine performance

Sarnia, ON -- Chris May, a senior researcher at the Sarnia research centre of Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto, has been...


Sarnia, ON — Chris May, a senior researcher at the Sarnia research centre of Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto, has been recognized by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for the development of an effective low-temperature test for diesel engine oils.

“Tighter emission standards have resulted in changes in diesel truck engines that may cause more soot and contaminants in the engine oil and concerns that the oil might not flow properly in cold weather,” said May.

To prevent truck engines from seizing up at low temperatures due to poor-flowing oil, May and a team of industry experts developed an effective low-temperature bench test that could identify and separate the good from the poor performing oils. Along with two co-authors, he wrote a paper documenting this work and the test was later verified in engine studies. Since then, the test has become a benchmark for industry performance.

For his efforts, May was awarded the SAE’s 2002 Arch T. Colwell Merit Award at its 2004 World Congress in Detroit. SAE is an industry body dedicated to the education and professional development in the automotive and aerospace engineering fields. May’s paper was one of nine selected from more than 2000 papers published in 2002.

May has worked with Imperial Oil’s Sarnia research department since 1981, working on the development and testing of all types of engine, gear and transmission lubricants with particular focus on low temperature operation of lubes.