Nissan Motor and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) on Monday said they had jointly developed a neutron imaging system that has provided the world’s first precise visualisation of oil flow in an engine operating at high speed.

Combining neutron radiography to visualise through lightweight metals with high-speed imaging technology to capture dynamic events, the imaging system gives researchers an unprecedented chance to study the behaviour of lubricating oil as it circulates through a vehicle engine or drivetrain.

The pair will conduct visualisation test studies on engines to determine the causes of friction loss from the recorded behaviour of internal lubricating oil flow.

The goal of the study is to redesign engines for optimal oil circulation with reduced friction in order to reduce fuel consumption and C02 emissions in vehicles. The joint research is being conducted at JAEA’s Tokai R&D Centre.